Michigan Republicans Abandon Their Effort to Block Election Results

They reversed course at the last minute, thanks to an outpouring of Zoom protest.

A Republican election challenger watches over election inspectors in Detroit. David Goldman/AP

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Two Republican officials who initially refused to certify the election results in Wayne County, Michigan, abruptly abandoned their apparent effort to reject the will of voters to help Donald Trump after a wave of public outpouring and anger.

The stunt from the two GOP officials, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, to block certification in the county, which includes Detroit, on Tuesday had briefly threatened to invalidate the county’s votes which, if successful, could have swung the state where Trump lost to Joe Biden by nearly 150,000 votes, and marked a stunning display of partisanship on behalf of the president. (Hartmann’s Facebook page revealed a string of right-wing, racist memes about Barack Obama.) But hours of protest, which primarily happened over Zoom, appeared to convince Hartmann and Palmer to back down on the condition that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson conducts an audit of the county’s results.

A particularly vociferous dressing-down came from Michigan resident Ned Staebler, who accused the pair of blatant racism by rejecting the vote in majority-Black Detroit.

“The stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have just covered yourself in is going to follow you throughout history,” Staebler said over Zoom. “Your grandchildren are going to think of you like Bull Connor or George Wallace. Monica Palmer and William Hartman will forever be known in southeastern Michigan as two racists who did something so unprecedented that they disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Black voters in the city of Detroit because they were ordered to.”

Trump, who praised the effort by Hartmann and Palmer shortly after they reversed course, has continued to baselessly claim that there was election fraud in Wayne County. 

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