Correspondent in New York
Donald Trump estuvo close to scoring a win that Tuesday in Michigan in his attempt to derail the victory of his rival, Joe Biden, at the polls. The two Republican members of the Wayne County Elections Council, the largest in the state, declined to certify the election results. His decision put in doubt, at least for a few days, the winner in this decisive state. A few hours later, the two Republicans agreed with the other two Democratic members of the electoral council to certify the results, with the commitment that the Secretary of State of Michigan will audit the count.
Biden prevailed in Michigan, one of the states that Trump beat Hillary Clinton by the least in 2016, by just under 11,000 votes. The count now gives Biden a difference of 158,000 votes. One of the reasons for Clinton’s defeat in this state, which in the last elections had always fallen on the Democratic side, was the abstention of a large part of the black electorate. On this occasion, as in the rest of the electorates throughout the country, the mobilization was much greater and the Democratic candidate won with much more solvency. And it is precisely a good part of the black vote that is at stake in this blocking of the results. Some Democratic voices have argued that the Republicans’ strategy is to eliminate the vote of the black population.
Wayne County is the most populous in Michigan. Includes your largest city, Detroit, one of the great black cities of the USA, with 80% of the population belonging to that minority. In Detroit, a Democratic stronghold, 94% of the vote went to Biden.
Two Republicans and two Democrats sit on the county elections council. The two Republicans have refused to certify the county’s results, which he gave almost 70% of his votes to Biden. The reason is that there was an inconsistency by a few votes between the voter records and the ballots cast.
“I am not confident that the voter records are accurate,” said Monica Palmer, one of the two Republican representatives, who chairs the county elections council. But Palmer said she would be willing to certify the votes of the entire county except Detroit, even though those inconsistencies existed in other locations in the county as well. A legal expert on elections for the Democratic Party in Michigan, Mark Brewer, defended in “The Washington Post” that the decision was “outrageous, surprising and racist” and, essentially, an attempt to “remove the vote from black voters.” Brewer criticized that Palmer did not seek the same treatment for Livonia, a town of almost 100,000 inhabitants, where 90% of the population is white, and which is the second with the second highest level of incongruity in the vote register.
The president of the Republican Party in Michigan, Laura Cox, celebrated the blockade: “I am proud that, thanks to the efforts of the party and the Trump campaign, there is sufficient evidence of irregularities and potential fraud for Wayne County Electoral Council to Reject Certification of Results. “
Trump celebrated the news in a big way on Twitter: “Having courage is a nice thing! USA. is proud!»He wrote about the initial refusal of the two Republicans to certify the results. Without Wayne County votes, Biden would be left without the advantage he has in this decisive state.
The future of Michigan voting was then a mystery, unprecedented in a county refusing to certify results. Finally, the change in the decision of the electoral council, which currently maintains those votes in favor of Biden, was a jug of cold water for Trump, who will undoubtedly continue in the fight.
The next step is at the meeting of the state electoral council on November 23, which will have to decide on the certification. It also has four members, two Democrats and two Republicans.
This type of blockade is one of Trump’s strategies to achieve re-election without the backing of the ballot box. When the states, for whatever reason, do not certify their results, the decision on the electors (the delegates who elect the president and send each state) rests with the state legislative bodies. In the case of Michigan, it is in Republican hands.
Trump would need more victories than winning Michigan voters. He has waged a legal war, still without any significant victory, in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Wisconsin.