Trump suffers setback as Michigan certifies Biden win

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Joe Biden, Politics, Watchdog
President-elect Joe Biden gestures to supporters at his victory speech on Saturday

Michigan election officials have certified Democrat Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state despite Donald Trump’s brazen attempts to subvert the results of the election.

The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one abstention.

Allies of Mr Trump and losing Republican Senate candidate John James had urged the panel to delay voting for two weeks to audit votes in heavily Democratic Wayne County, home to Detroit.

Under Michigan law, Mr Biden claims all 16 electoral votes. He won by 2.8 percentage points — a larger margin than in other states where Mr Trump is contesting results like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump

Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state legislators could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That longshot is no longer possible in Michigan.

“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the state of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20,” Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said in a statement, adding it is “time to put this election behind us”.

The Trump legal team dismissed the certification as “simply a procedural step” and insisted it would fight on.

But Mr Trump’s efforts to stave off the inevitable — formal recognition of his defeat — is facing increasingly stiff resistance from the courts and fellow Republicans with just three weeks to go until the electoral college meets to certify Mr Biden’s victory.

Time and again, his challenges and baseless allegations of widespread conspiracy and fraud have been met with rejection as states confirm their results.

Governor Whitmer’s Statement on State Board of Canvassers Vote to Certify 2020 Election Results:
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) November 23, 2020

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers certified the results despite calls by Mr Trump and allies to the Republican members to block the vote to allow for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where he has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Mr Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.

“The board’s duty today is very clear,” said Aaron Van Langevelde, the Republican vice chairman. “We have a duty to certify this election based on these returns. That is very clear. We are limited to these returns. I’m not going to argue that we’re not.”

Mary Ellen Gurewitz, a lawyer for the state Democratic Party, told the canvassers that attacks on the election results “are part of a racist campaign, directed by soon-to-be former president Trump, to disparage the cities in this country with large black populations, including Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee”.

Mr Trump has tried to defy the results of the election through the courts, but having found no luck there, moved on to personally trying to influence local legislators to convince them to ignore the popular vote and appoint Republican electors, a strategy that would send Americans into the streets in protest, election law experts have said.

Two local Republican canvassers who certified the results unsuccessfully tried to reverse course last week after being called by Mr Trump.

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