THE NEUTRAL ZONE: DEEP DIVE
Though the votes were cast two weeks ago, clashes over recounts and certifications continue in battleground states.
The Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, Michigan, which includes Detroit, dominated headlines and tweets this week when Republican board members said they wanted to rescind votes that they had changed earlier. Republican board members refused to certify election results Tuesday, though they changed their votes hours later following criticism from spectators watching the online meeting. Late Wednesday, both of the disputing members changed their mind again and said they want to rescind their votes to certify the county’s election results. According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, delaying certification could result in Michigan being excluded from the Electoral College, which would disenfranchise all 5.5 million Michigan voters.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission ordered a recount after a contentious debate Wednesday night following a $3 million payment from the Trump campaign. The campaign balked at the $7.9 million cost of a state-wide recount, instead opting for a partial recount of liberal counties Milwaukee and Dane. The counties have until Dec. 1, Wisconsin’s election certification deadline. Officials said a partial recount will likely not reverse Trump’s loss in the state. Former GOP Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called the 20,000 vote lead Biden held in the state “a high hurdle” in a tweet Nov. 4.
Georgia election officials plan to release recount results Thursday, which will likely affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s lead, they said. Ahead of the results, GOP election official Gabriel Sterling warned questioning election results undermines democracy. Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his wife received death threats following such questioning and allegations from Donald Trump.
Arizona and Pennsylvania face vote certification challenges as well. Officials in Mohave County, Arizona, delayed certifying results because of election-related lawsuits around the country. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani argued to stop certification in Pennsylvania on Tuesday while a Republican board member says she will not certify Luzerne County’s election without an audit of at least 10% of votes. As the electoral vote debate rages on, Biden’s vote tally approaches a record 80 million votes.
When Michigan Republicans Refused to Certify Votes, It Wasn’t Normal – The New York Times – 11/18/2020
For a few hours on Tuesday, it looked as though two Republican officials in Wayne County, Mich., might reject the will of hundreds of thousands of voters. […] Voters in Michigan and beyond were left wondering: What just happened? Could the results of a free election really be blocked that easily, in such a routine part of the electoral process? In this case, the answer was no, but perhaps only because so many people said so.
Trump Campaign Requests Recounts in 2 Wisconsin Counties – The Daily Signal – 11/19/2020
In a statement, the Trump campaign said that the petition calls for recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties, citing what it says are “illegally altered absentee ballots, illegally issued absentee ballots, and illegal advice given by government officials allowing Wisconsin’s voter-ID laws to be circumvented.” […] In Dane County—which includes Madison, the state capital and home to the flagship campus of the state university system—Biden drew 260,157 votes, while Trump received 78,789 votes, according to the county clerk’s website. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that canvasses of the votes by Wisconsin’s 72 counties showed Biden won Wisconsin by 20,608 votes out of about 3.29 million votes cast, for a margin of just 0.7%. Wisconsin’s winner will get the state’s 10 electoral votes.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Was Pressured by Trump Demands Before Election – Truthout – 11/19/2020
Around the country, most secretaries of state remain officially neutral in elections. The attacks on his job performance are “clear retaliation,” Raffensperger said. “They thought Georgia was a layup shot Republican win. It is not the job of the secretary of state’s office to deliver a win — it is the sole responsibility of the Georgia Republican Party to get out the vote and get its voters to the polls. That is not the job of the secretary of state’s office.”
Arizona GOP pressures counties to delay certifying vote – Associated Press – 11/19/2020
The Arizona Republican Party is pressuring county officials statewide to delay certifying their election results despite no evidence of legitimate questions about the vote count that shows Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won the state. The GOP also is seeking a court order to postpone the certification in Maricopa County — the state’s largest by population — that’s expected Thursday or Friday before a Nov. 23 deadline.
Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania – NPR – 11/17/2020
Things did not go well Tuesday for the Trump campaign’s effort to stop certification of the Pennsylvania vote count — which has Joe Biden ahead by more than 73,000 votes. At almost the same time that the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was in federal court in Williamsport, Pa., complaining that Republican observers were illegally denied access to vote counting in Philadelphia and other Democratic areas, the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg concluded otherwise. By a 5-2 vote, it ruled that Philadelphia election officials had acted properly in their handling of the observation process.