Michigan Mired In Election Drama. Money, Threats, Broken Promises At Root Of Their Struggle To Get A Final Count.

An elections worker rubs his head in the closing hours where absentee ballots were processed at the central counting board, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The two Republicans at the center of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers who initially voted against certifying the votes, then agreed to certify the votes, now have signed affidavits saying they were bullied into siding with Democrats and want their votes to certify rescinded.

Wayne County, which includes Detroit, is one of the most populated counties in Michigan with over 1.7 million residents. The pair of Republican board members, Monica Palmer and William C. Hartmann, were involved in a two-hour deadlock in the county’s election certification process before they eventually agreed to certify.

Palmer and Hartmann now say they were called racists and threatened for raising concerns about ballot accuracy. Hartmann said in his affidavit that he observed about 71% of Detroit’s 134 absent-voter counting boards, saying they “were left unbalanced and many unexplained.” Powel (Palmer?) backed up Hartmann’s claim, stating that she saw the same problem.

In her affidavit, Palmer said that she faced immediate intimidation and pressure to change her vote “After the vote, the public comment period began and dozens of people made personal remarks against me and Mr. Hartmann,” she said. “The comments made accusations of racism and threatened me and members of my family. The public comment continued for over two hours and I felt pressured to continue the meeting without a break.”

Hartmann said he initially changed his vote based on a promise of an audit. “Late in the evening, I was enticed to agree to certify based on the promise that a full and independent audit would take place,” he recalled. “I would not have agreed to the certification but for the promise of an audit.” Hartmann followed up those comments in his affidavit, saying “After the meeting, I was made aware that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson made a public claim that the representations made by Mr. Kinlock (who is this?), on which he had relied, would not be followed.”

Hartmann raised a whole list of concerns in the affidavit, one being about money involved in the election process, saying “I am also concerned about the use of private monies directing local officials regarding the management of the elections, how those funds were used and whether such funds were used to pay election workers.” 

Ballots, money, threats and unkept promises. Clearly it looks like we will be hearing plenty from Wayne County Michigan over the coming days.

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