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All 83 Michigan counties certify Nov. 8 election, averting confusion of 2020

people standing in line to vote
County boards of canvassers are obligated by law to certify election results, a role that some describe as “ministerial.” (Bridge photo)
  • All Michigan counties have certified the Nov. 8 election results
  • The unanimity marks a contrast to 2020, when several GOP canvassers refused to certify the results due to unfounded election conspiracies
  • The Board of State Canvassers must certify the results by Nov. 28

LANSING — All 83 Michigan counties certified the Nov. 8 election results by Tuesday's deadline, likely averting a 2020-style meltdown.

Next, the Board of State Canvassers must certify the results by Nov. 28 under state law before election wins become official for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel and others.

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The smooth certifications stand in contrast to two years ago, when the mostly ceremonial bipartisan boards took on added importance when Wayne County and, later, the state board came close to refusing to certify the results over a few irregularities.

Related: Michigan election: What to know about poll challengers, ID, canvassers, more

This year, few technical errors were reported statewide, and they were fixed before they could affect voters’ ability to cast ballots, Michigan Secretary of State spokesperson Jake Rollow told reporters on Election Day.

In Wayne County, the four-member canvassing board voted unanimously Tuesday to certify the election amid chants of “Count my vote” and audience comments urging them to certify. 

In total, 92 percent to 100 percent of precinct election results in Wayne County were reconciled or explained when a mismatch occurred between the number of votes cast and the number of voters in the ePollbook, according to a staff report. 

The mismatch could be because voters spoiled their ballot and left the precinct without actually voting, or because they received and cast a ballot for another precinct and their vote was counted in that different precinct, Wayne County elections director Greg Mahar said Tuesday.

A handful of others objected to the certification based on claims of “anomalies,” even though there was no credible evidence of irregularities that would have swayed the election outcome. Some demanded a “full forensic audit” — a term widely used by supporters of former President Donald Trump who believed without credible evidence the 2020 election was stolen.

The final certification is up to the Board of State Canvassers. Tony Daunt, a Republican member who chairs the board, has indicated this year he plans to certify the election. 

“This is a very ministerial duty," Daunt said last month. “I was never a good math student, but I think I can handle the addition of 83 counties and determining that these are the results.”

If the state board deadlocks over election results certification, the issue would be pushed to the Michigan Supreme Court.

This year may be one of the last when the canvassing boards have as much power.

Voters in November approved Proposal 2, which will require those boards to only certify election results based on vote counts by election officials. 

The proposal also eliminates the state Legislature’s right to determine winners of races in cases of ties, instead requiring a “drawing of lots.” 

Under Proposal 2, the Board of State Canvassers will be the only entity to supervise a post-certification recount, and the board’s certification will be final unless a recount or a court order changes the outcome. 

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