Jul 29, 2022 - Politics

Scoop: Select Michigan counties might refuse to certify elections

Illustration of a campaign button cracked in many pieces.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Michigan election officials tell Axios that they expect some counties will refuse to certify election results this year.

Why it matters: Election officials say it could bring chaos that will stress courts and potentially undercut the legitimacy of elections and elected officials.

How it works: Elections are complete only once county and statewide boards certify the results.

  • If a local board were to refuse certification, they would be sued by winning candidates in that county.
  • A court would then order them to certify. If they wait until after the canvassing period and fail to certify, Michigan would move the county's canvass to the state.

Context: Republicans across Michigan have replaced canvassers who pushed back against baseless fraud claims in 2020to certify results for President Joe Biden.

  • It's unclear whether new GOP canvassers will uphold their oaths or be influenced by election conspiracy theories.
  • Wayne County's newest GOP canvasser declined to say whether he would certify the results of the 2022 and 2024 elections when asked by the Free Press.

What they're saying: "Voters should be wary of attempts to sow seeds of doubt in the integrity of Michigan elections, which are proven among the most secure and accurate in the country, by election canvassers who illegally refuse to fulfill their duty under the law," a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office tells Axios.

  • "Any attempts will be futile as we are confident courts would swiftly enforce the law and block or overturn any attempts to illegally deny certification."
  • "Our office will ensure that regardless of who wins or loses an election, the will of the people will rule the day.”

Flashback: Wayne County's stalled certification of the 2020 election became a national story after hours of deadlock. It ultimately certified the election because of a since-ousted Republican member.

The big picture: Michigan could be one of a handful of states where certain counties force the election process to the courts.

  • A Republican-led board in New Mexico's rural Otero County refused to certify its primary election results over conspiracy-fueled distrust of Dominion voting machines.

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