What to expect from Michigan Board of Canvassers; how to watch meeting

Update: Canvassers certify election. Joe Biden wins Michigan, its 16 electoral votes​
Related: With Michigan’s presidential vote certified, is Trump out of options?

The national spotlight is on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which meets at 1 p.m. Monday to decide whether to certify election results from the state’s 83 counties. 

What was once a routine step in the election process has become embroiled in controversy, as Republicans have urged the bipartisan board to delay certification by 14 days to conduct an audit. House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, has warned the state could face a “constitutional crisis” if canvassers don’t certify.

The meeting comes days after President Donald Trump invited Chatfied and other Republican lawmakers to the White House amid his effort to persuade state legislatures to ignore the popular vote and award Michigan’s 16 electors to him.

The meeting, which will take place at the Secretary of State’s office in Lansing, will be streamed to adhere to social distancing protocols Here’s what to expect:

Who is on the board?

Two Democrats and two Republicans.

The Democrats are Jeannette Bradshaw of Ortonville, recording secretary and registrar for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 58 union in Detroit and Julie Matuzak of Clinton Township,  who is retired as political coordinator for the American Federation of Teachers union.

The Republicans are Norm Shinkle of Williamston, a former state senator, n and Aaron Van Langevelde of Charlotte, an attorney who works for the Michigan House Republicans. 

All were nominated by their political parties and confirmed by the state governor for four-year terms that receive nominal pay, $75 per meeting. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reappointed Shinkle and Matuzak last year.

What is their job?

The board is charged under state law with certifying the election. At least three members must vote in favor in order for the process to be complete. The Democrats are expected to vote to certify. There’s less certainty about the Republicans.

Shinkle’s wife was a GOP poll challenger in Detroit and has told Bridge Michigan he makes no promises about his vote. He told the Washington Post he is leaning toward not certifying in order to conduct an audit of Wayne County’s election results.

The other Republican, Van Langevelde, has made no public comment about his vote.

What is the issue?

Democrat Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 in unofficial results. But without evidence, Trump has alleged widespread voter fraud, which courts have repeatedly ruled is unfounded. 

Many of the allegations center on Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold that provided Biden his path to victory in Michigan, even though he increased his support in suburbs and west Michigan

After Trump’s allegations of fraud went nowhere in court, the Michigan Republican Party and Republican National Committee on Saturday asked for a 14-day delay in certifying the election in order to conduct an audit.

That would delay certification until Dec. 7, one day before the “safe harbor” deadline for states to certify elections before courts or the state Legislature could intervene.

The Secretary of State and other election experts, however, said state law forbids audits until after certification.

What will happen?

It could take a while. Activists on both sides of the aisle are expected to make their case about certification.

Each speaker has three minutes to make comments. The Secretary of State hasn’t said how many speakers are expected, but activists from both political parties widely circulated comment forms this weekend. So it’s a safe bet that a bunch are expected.

The board’s agenda also includes: 

  • Consideration of meeting minutes for approval (Oct. 15 meeting).
  • Recording the results of the Nov. 3, special election for the Michigan House of Representatives, 4th District, partial term ending Jan. 1.

How to watch

Come back to Bridge Michigan and this story. Also, the meeting will be streamed live and an agenda is available here

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Mon, 11/23/2020 - 12:26pm

When Chatfield "warns" of a constitutional crisis, he actually signals that he and Shirkey plan to trigger one, to give the Republicans in the legislature an excuse to betray the majority of Michigan voters, who voted for Biden, and hand the state's electoral votes to Trump.

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 1:50pm

Watching now, should have bought some Pepto-Bismol. GOP tryna break the law and steal our election.

Come on, Man!
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:12pm

The law is clear. Certify, then audit. PERIOD

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:22pm

Excuse my French, what the hell is Republican Norman Shinkle wearing? Is he trying to assure himself a comic cameo on SNL this week? He has what looks like a tie that he is sort of wearing like an ascot? Is it a costume hearing?

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 5:10pm

It was the mask around his neck.

I call BS
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:36pm

Racist Cox: the GOP was allegedly treated badly. No proof of that or election abuse, no testimony about actual problems at TCF, only difference there is that the voters were mostly Blacks.

What a dunce!
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:42pm

Charlie Spies attorney for John James seems to thing the certification process is a trial. Thank God John James lost, if that's the kind of guy he would hire to work on behalf of we the people. He just can't accept that Democrats who voted in Wayne County don't want a Republican senator. He's delusional. He's lying about the 70% irregularities that have been debunked time and again. Certify, then audit.

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:44pm

What a waste of time... the same old BS over and over.
So where was the outrage from the Republicans in 2016?
Oh - Trump won (by a VERY slim margin). That says everything.
The Republicans would prefer that no one except Republicans be allowed to vote and only their votes would count. That's usually done in fascist or communist countries so I guess that's their model.
When you don't have the facts on your side just blather and spew lies. Yup.

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:45pm

Spies wants Republican Joe Lieberman to decide our election????

Ha Ha
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 2:49pm

Beautiful to see Republican Aaron Van Langevelde school Spies on the law. IE, Spies is just making up crap. Thankfully Langevelde seems to have ethics and want a future in politics: THE LAW IS ON MY SIDE. OUR DUTY IS TO CERTIFY THE RESULTS. THE STATUTE CANNOT BE MORE CLEAR. Spies, James, Ba bye.

That's it?
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 3:14pm

Monica Palmer looks like a train wreck. Didn't she know about this hearing today? I've seen her press conference and she looked normal, but here she looks and spoke like a crazy person. Let's hope she has proof of her comments about her threats because she has no proof about anything else and she said she didn't read her materials relevant to the hearing. She does not seem professional enough to handle the job she undertook.

I call BS
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 3:25pm

Colbeck is full of crap. Just compare 2016 and 2020. Number of voters were similar.

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 3:30pm

Colbeck file a complaint with the AG. Put up or shut up. It's certification, not a trail.

Mike drop!
Mon, 11/23/2020 - 5:09pm

Boom! Another Biden victory, LOSS for Trump. Don, don't be such a poor loser. Show some dignity. We'd hate to have to see you leaving the White House in handcuffs.