Two Republican Michigan Officials Attempt To Rescind Certifications Of Election Results

Just as you thought that the 2020 election could not get more bizarre, the controversy in Wayne County over the certification of the election took a new turn on Wednesday after two Republicans — Monica Palmer and William C. Hartmann, on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers sought to rescind their votes to certify. They claim that they were coerced by threats against them and their families by Democratic voters. The threats against Palmer and Hartmann are all-too-familiar in an election where Democratic members are calling for blacklists and others denounce any questioning of the Biden victory as akin to “Holocaust denial.” The Lincoln Project has led a national effort to harass any lawyers who represent Republicans or the Trump campaign. While it will be difficult to rescind such a vote, the silence in the media and from Democratic leaders on this harassment is chilling. Indeed, Democratic leaders have joined in the personal attacks.

The errors seem to be minor and certainly not enough to alter any outcome. They are in all likelihood clerical or human error. It is not clear why the errors were not corrected and could not simply be quickly addressed after the two officials raised them. In terms of changing the outcome, this may be a tempest in a teapot but why have a tempest at all? I still do not understand why the counts were not corrected since officials have acknowledged errors. Instead, the objections to the errors triggered a campaign of abuse.

The two canvassers signed affidavits that they were hit with a torrent of threats against them and their families after they demanded that the board address irregularities in what they said were 71% of Detroit’s 134 absent voter counting boards.  They were hit with personal attacks calling them racists and cult members. In a familiar campaign of post-election intimidation, they were doxxed and attacked.  The Lincoln Project (which is supported by thousands of lawyers and law firms) was blocked on Twitter in using such abusive tactics against individual Republican lawyers.

The two officials were instantly declared racist because the county has such a large African-American voting base: “Monica Palmer and William Hartmann took their hoods off yesterday in their initial assertions that the county certify every city’s vote except for Detroit.” They were called cult members and their telephone numbers and addresses shared in a doxxing campaign.

Ned Staebler, chief executive of TechTown, lashed out at the two officials in asking for the correction of the errors: “The Trump stain, the stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have covered yourself in, is going to follow you throughout history.” He added that the two officials would “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.”

One of those attacking the two officials was Rep.-elect Abraham Aiyash, D-Detroit. Aiyash declared:

“You are certainly showing that you are a racist. You may say that you are not, you may claim that you are not, but let’s be very clear. Your words today and your actions today made it clear that you are OK with silencing the votes of an 80% African American city . . . What that tells us is you Ms. Monica Palmer of Grosse Pointe Woods, which has a history of racism, are deciding to enable and continuing to perpetuate the racist history of this country. And I want you to think about what that means for your kids, who probably go to Grosse Pointe North, and when they see all their Black classmates and they know that… their mother, or their grandmother, their aunt, decided to say, in this democracy in this American project, that is not perfect but we have to work toward perfecting it, I’m going to be comfortable sleeping at night knowing that I silenced the votes of so many people.”

They were also attacked by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: “In refusing to approve the results of the election in Wayne County, the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers have placed partisan politics above their legal duty to certify the election results.”

Some individuals went further to threaten the officials and their families, a growing occurrence in the country. Yesterday, I spoke to a group of Republican lawyers who recounted how bomb attacks and other violent threats have been directed at them and their families. The Lincoln Project and various lawyers have led efforts to intimidate lawyers and their clients.

It worked in Michigan. The two officials reversed their votes, but said that they did so under an agreement that the Secretary of State would conduct an audit. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson however reportedly later said the audit request was not binding. Palmer stated  that she “felt misled.”

The signed affidavits trying to “rescind” these votes will face serious obstacles. Board vice chairman Jonathan Kinloch has already stated that the board considers the votes “binding.” He noted that there was also a vote waiving any reconsideration of the certification.


I do not see a court undoing those votes even with the sworn statements on the campaign of threats and abuse directed against them and their families.

The officials could add their affidavits to alleging of election irregularities and they can ask for criminal investigations into any personal threats.

There have also been threats reported by Democratic officials in states like Arizona that should be equally condemned. We are allowing the most radical elements of our politics to shape our dialogue as a nation in the aftermath of one of the most divisive elections in history.

What is missing however are calls in the media or from Democratic leaders to end such campaign of intimidation and abuse by groups like The Lincoln Project. While President-elect Joe Biden has called for unity and healing, he has said nothing about the campaign against Trump campaign lawyers and their clients. He has said nothing about reports of violent threats against officials or lawyers tied to election challenges. No law firms or lawyers have publicly withdrawn their support for the Lincoln Project after it pledged half a million dollars to hound and harass lawyers. The silence speaks loudly to our loss of civility, decency, and professionalism as a nation.


168 thoughts on “Two Republican Michigan Officials Attempt To Rescind Certifications Of Election Results”

  1. Nevada judge agrees to hear Trump campaign evidence of alleged voter fraud

    “We will have whistleblower testimony showing that overnight, the disks that were used to hold votes would magically have votes appear and reappear on the same desk,”

    Legal group files lawsuit challenging more than 200,000 ballots in Georgia
    Filing argues that “well over 100,000 illegal votes were improperly counted.”

    Judge orders Pennsylvania officials to stop certification of state election results
    The order was made by Commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough _JTN

    At Pennsylvania hearing, Trump team urges legislature to halt election certification
    Witnesses allege GOP poll watchers were barred from inspecting ballots.__JTN

    Trump scores two wins as Michigan legislature, federal appeals court agree to election reviews
    Michigan House hearing set for Wednesday, and 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals grants expedited review. JTN

    In sworn statement, prominent mathematician flags up to 100,000 Pennsylvania ballots
    Federal Elections Commission Chairman Trey Trainor says new analysis by professor Steven Miller “adds to the conclusions that some level of voter fraud took place in this year’s election.” __JTN

    Just some of the fraud allegations.

    1. The vast majority ofaffadavits regard small instances of fraud.

      That MUST be the case – systemic fraud is a conclusion reached as a consequence of numerous observations of smaller fraud.

      There are independent claims that large numbers of ballots were secretly injected into the election – these are unlikely to be proven by individual witness testimony. These are better established by comparing the number of ballots counted to the number of voters who voted.

      We saw this in coleman franken – where there were over 3500 more ballots in a franken precint than records of votes coast.

      The courts counted all the ballots because it was not possible to identify the fraudulent ones.

  2. Jonathan: There is a small coterie of believers inside the White House that supports Trump’s claim that “I won the election”. But outside the Trumpian bubble there are growing numbers Republicans that believe Trump’s refusal to accept reality is an embarrassment and urging him to concede. You apparently are still in the Trump orbit by arguing that there are still a number of “election irregularities” in states like Michigan and elsewhere that should be investigated and litigated. You falsely claim there is a “campaign of intimidation” by Democrats and their allies to prevent this. Your cause celebre is in Wayne County, Michigan (that includes Detroit which is 80% black) in which 2 Republican canvassers initially refused to certify the results of the election where Biden was overwhelmingly the winner. What you don’t mention is that Monika Palmer, one of the two Republican canvassers, was called by Trump, no doubt to tell her to rescind her certification. This was direct interference by Trump in the vote counting process in Michigan.

    A more sinister form of “intimidation” is occurring in Georgia which you also don’t mention. There Trump had his toady Lindsey Graham call Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State, and ask him to throw out legally cast ballots for Biden. Raffensperger refused but felt threatened by Graham’s call. He actually received death threats and was subject to baseless accusations of misconduct by fellow Georgia Republicans. Graham’s out of state ploy violated both federal and state election laws but it is unlikely he will be prosecuted by AG Barr, a loyal Trump supporter. This is the kind of “campaign intimidation” you should be discussing in your column but you choose to ignore.

    Now that Trump’s campaign of flooding the courts with lawsuits has failed he is shifting to a strategy of trying to get electors in Michigan and elsewhere to refuse to follow the popular vote and vote for a slate of Trump electors. Even the conservative National Review publication calls this strategy a “profoundly undemocratic gambit” and could cause a “major constitutional crisis”. If there has been a “loss of civility, decency and professionalism” in this campaign, as you claim, you can look no further than Trump’s refusal to accept the results of a democratic election and intimidate electors to ignore the popular vote and support him. We expect this kind of thing in Turkey and under other authoritarian regimes but not here. Think again. Trump is an existential threat to our democracy which you refuse to acknowledge.

    1. Even politico found that 70+% of republicans and a majority of americans are not in a rush to kick Trump out.

      They would prefer to wait and see whether there was significant fraud.

      Given the misconduct of the left over the past 12 years – that reticence is easy to understand.

      After all Biden has lied to us repeatedly about his dealings with his son, and his conduct of US foreign policy in Ukraine and China.

      It is not like we do not have plenty of reason to mistrust him, the left, democrats and the media.

      When you spend your time lobbing false accusations – you should not be surprised when people start to doubt your veracity,

      BTW there is plenty of evidence of election irregularitues, there is also plenty of evidence of actual fraud.

      Failing to follow the law – as most of the election officials and governors, and courts in these states did is fraud.

      Did it change the outcome – unfortunately we likely never will know.

      And it is unlikely that even the Supreme court is going to do much about it.

      That has been the norm with our courts regarding election fraud.

      After the fact there is rarely any means to correct the fraud without tossing the whole election.
      And they are not doing that.

      But it is perfectly appropriate to have the truth brought out.
      So that people get a sense of how democrats do not care about the law or the rules – so long as they can take power.

      It is amazing – all the things you have said about Trump are just projection of who you are yourselves.

      While it is likely you will end up with the whitehouse in January, it is fitting that you pay for it with what little is left of your integrity.

      Just look at you – Trump supporters go out and engage in actually peaceful protest – something we have not seen in a while,
      And your thugs go out and beat them up.

      Shame on You!

      1. “It is not like we do not have plenty of reason to mistrust” Biden.

        Such as a pattern of plagiarism, spanning four decades (starting in law school).

        Cynics are always the most gullible.

    2. So your adding the Graham delusion to the russian collusion delusion ?

      Where were you when election board officials who did not want to certify their states election received death threats from left wing nuts ?

      Atleast that event was actually real.

      There remain open questions regarding the conduct of the Georgia election.

      No one should be pressuring anyone – though I am sure the left is.

      I do not care what Raffensperger or anyone else “felt” – improper conduct is objective not subjective.

      At the same time I do expect Raffensperger to look deeply into all allegations, and so far he seems to be avoiding the actually serious ones.

      We all know if you stick you head in the sand – you can not see fraud.

      You say that Raffensperger was asked to throw out valid votes. But many votes in GA and other states were accepted despite not meeting the requirements of the law – those are are not valid votes. They are invalid.

      The billboards I see saying “count every vote” – are proof of the ends justify the means approach of the left.

      We are not supposed to count every vote. We are not supposed to count the votes of dead people, or fictitious people, or people unable to mail their votes on time, or sign their ballot envelope or who are voting for their neighbor, or ballots that were just slipped into the ballot box.

      We expect that Raffensperger and every other state will search for those invalid votes and remove them. So that we have an actually honest election.

      Democrats have a long history of election fraud.

      If after the valid votes and only the valid votes are counted – Biden has won, then he can become president.

      But at this moment a majority of us want to be sure that is the case.

      O/f course even if it was only a minority – we listened to you rant for 4 years about faux russian collusion – a claim YOUR candidate plotted with Russians to feed to the FBI, knowing it was false.

      You can wait pateintly while we sort out the real fraud in this election and find out what the true result is.

      Further we expect Raffensperger and other states to seek prosecutions of those involved in fraud. Whether that fraud is small or large.

      Otherwise we will see more in the future.

    3. Or you refuse to. We the people shouldn’t have a facade….all our earlier didn’t die for a gloss over…either votes matter or they don’t…..either states matter or they don’t….the left want both….by cheating. Screw your daddy’s red coat.

    4. “by arguing that there are still a number of “election irregularities””

      Dennis, do you believe there were no “election irregularities”? If you do can you say why?

      What does one do if “election irregularities” are seen?

  3. Prof. Turley you are far to unwilling to accept that if government or political misconduct is possible, it will occur.

    The only reason that I find Sydney Powell’s Domion Voting System claims difficult to beleive is because if true they are near certain to be caught.

    But I have seen so much political misconduct in the past several years. Who would have beleived the FBI would spy on a political candidate AFTER they were told his opponent was setting him up ?

  4. We see increasing numbers of close elections.
    We see increasing anomosity between otherwise civil and law abiding people.

    decades ago it would be hard to beleive that public officials would stuff ballot boxes or inject the votes of dead people – and yet that happened.

    Today people who send their kids to the same school are bitterly divided politically and seem ready to ignore all norms to accomplish their political objectives by any means necescary.

    We have seen this throughout the past 4 years (and earlier).

    With respect to elections it is possible to structure elections such that fraud is nearly impossible – even with the level of antagonism that has gone beyond political operatives and into neighbors. But the first step is grasping that fraud is possible and that the system must be designed to make it certain to get caught. The second step is to punish all misconduct when identified.

    We can not limit ourselves to the fraud we see that may not change outcomes. It is the consequences we impose for what is visible that makes what we can not see less likely.

  5. If the crediblity and extent of the threats can be verified – rescind the votes PERIOD.

    Democrat Republican, I do not care. We do not covern by coercion and no coerced consent is EVER valid.

    Further, go after and prosecute those issuing the threats – and if any of them are tied to the board, the state or either parties throw them in jail for a long time.

    You keep pointing out all kinds of misconduct and then muttering – its OK because it likely would not have changed the outcome.

    It is NOT OK. As much as some of my lawyer friends might wish there was – there is no such thing as a public service murder.

    It is not OK to cheat.

    Rescind the votes and check the allegations. If they are plausible investigate. If they are nothing more than obstruction – fire these officials.

    Getting the election results right is NOT about politics.

  6. Thursday Update:


    After failing repeatedly in court to overturn election results, President Trump is taking the extraordinary step of reaching out directly to Republican state legislators as he tries to subvert the Electoral College process, inviting Michigan lawmakers to meet with him at the White House on Friday.

    Mr. Trump contacted the Republican majority leader in the Michigan State Senate to issue the invitation, according to a person briefed on the invitation. It is not clear how many Michigan lawmakers will be making the trip to Washington, nor precisely what Mr. Trump plans to say to the lawmakers. The president has made few public appearances since the election and his daily schedule often has no events scheduled, despite the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

    The White House invitation to Republican lawmakers in a battleground state is the latest — and the most brazen — salvo in a scattershot campaign-after-the-campaign waged by Mr. Trump and his allies to cast doubt on President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s decisive victory.

    It comes as the Trump campaign and its allies have been seeking to overturn the results of the election in multiple states through lawsuits and intrusions into the state vote certification process, often targeting cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Atlanta with large and politically powerful Black populations. Mr. Trump himself reached out personally to at least one election official in Wayne County, Mich., home of Detroit, who tried to decertify the results there.

    Some members of Mr. Trump’s team have promoted the legally dubious theory that friendly legislatures could under certain scenarios effectively subvert the popular vote and send their own, pro-Trump delegations to the Electoral College.

    The Michigan Senate leader who received Mr. Trump’s invitation, Mike Shirkey, said in an interview earlier this week with Bridge Michigan, a local news outlet, that the Legislature would not move to appoint its own slate of electors, stating, “That’s not going to happen.”

    The statewide canvassing board, a bipartisan four-member panel, is responsible for certifying Michigan’s election results by a Monday deadline, a step that must take place before any move could be made to change the electors.

    The Trump campaign’s lead election lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, announced Thursday morning that the campaign was withdrawing a federal suit it had filed seeking to stop the certification of results in Wayne County. The campaign attached the affidavits to the dismissal notice.

    Mr. Biden won nearly 95 percent of the vote in Detroit and around 70 percent of the vote in Wayne County en route to winning Michigan by more than 150,000 votes.

    With the withdrawal of the Wayne County suit, the Trump campaign and its Republican supporters have now lost or withdrawn from all of their major legal actions in Michigan, although the state’s Supreme Court is still considering an appeal of a lower court’s decision not to halt the certification of Wayne County’s results.

    Edited from: “Trump Asks Michigan Lawmakers To White House In Bid To Subvert Election”

    Today’s New York Times

    1. ” as he tries to subvert the Electoral College process”. It seems to me that if the claims of electoral fraud are proven true the electoral process was subverted by some entity other than the Trump legal team. It wasn’t that long ago that Sen s Warren, Klobacher, and Wyden were complaining about the inaccuracies of the Dominion system etc. I don’t care who it is, a cheater is a cheater and that is anathema to any fair minded person of any political persuasion. Or maybe those on the left think that a win should be by any means necessary even if it is fraudulent.

    1. DBB:

      Threats of imminent violence aren’t free speech, Bensonhurst. They’re crimes. Stay in your own supposed field of expertise. You’re sounding crotchety again.


    In this column the victims are ‘not’ the 250,000 voters of Detroit; 78% of whom are Black. Their votes would have been invalidated by these two, White Republicans. But in Johnathan Turley’s bubble, the ‘victims’ are those two White Republicans who were perfectly fine with disenfranchising every voter of Detroit!

    Turley even admits there was no justifiable basis for disenfranchising Detroit: “The errors seem to be minor and certainly not enough to alter any outcome. They are in all likelihood clerical or human error”.

    Nevertheless Turley goes on to say how disturbing it is that those two, White Republicans were threatened. Nowhere does Turley point out how unusual this attempt was. We’ve never had a major city disenfranchised from the state voting count over a few irregularities. This was a naked power grab with nakedly racist overtones. Those two, White Republicans deserved to be threatened!

    Turley’s point of view reveals a sociopathic mentality shockingly common among Republicans. It’s an attitude like, “We’ve got a perfect right to employ any dirty trick to stay in power because we’re pro-life”. Or because, “We’re anti-communist”.

    Joseph Biden’s Popular Vote lead is now at 3.8%. That’s totally within the bounds of a typical presidential victory. Had Trump not won that bizarre, fluke of a victory last time, no one would even entertain the possibility that Trump came ‘close’ to winning this time. Yet Johnathan Turley pretends all this litigation from Trump’s campaign is reasonable and justified. ..It is no such thing..!!

    The fact that Trump is using this time to purge Pentagon officials (instead of dealing with the pandemic) creates the very worst of appearances. According to several press accounts, Trump was seriously thinking of launching a major strike against Iran. Military aides hope they talked Trump out of that. But one can be sure that Donald Trump is going to do everything possible to create a giant crisis to dump on Joe Biden. Trump is a stooge for Putin and his current actions are glaring proof.


      Because Michigan is in a cold, northern region bordering Canada, most Americans would never associate the ‘Great Lakes State’ with the Ku Klux Klan. However Michigan had a very muscular Ku Klux Klan in the 1920’s. The link below is an interview with a Michigan academic detailing the Klan’s history in that state.

        1. Hey Troll, Indiana, immediately south of Michigan, had the nation’s most muscular Ku Klux Klan in 1920’s America. And Indiana was Republican! The entire Upper Midwest was largely Republican for much of the 20th Century. So obviously you know NOTHING about the Midwest.

    2. No one should be making threats. Non-violent organizing only.

      From Detroit Free Press:

      Palmer earlier told the Free Press her family had “received multiple threats.” “The threats have been made against myself, my daughter and my husband,” she said. “Reports have been filed with Grosse Pointe Woods police and the FBI.”

      “The discrepancies found in Wayne County were minor and elections experts say they are common across the country and the result of human error. They do not indicate that individuals voted multiple times or that ballots were counted more than once.”

      Meanwhile, from Trump’s legal team on C-SPAN:

      “What we are really dealing with and uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China and the interference with our elections here in the United States. The Dominion Voting Systems, Smartmatic technology software and software that goes in other computerized voting systems as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out. We have one very strong witness who has explained how it all works. His affidavit is attached to the pleadings of Lynn Wood and the lawsuit he filed in Georgia.”

    3. Aninny:

      “In this column the victims are ‘not’ the 250,000 voters of Detroit; 78% of whom are Black. Their votes would have been invalidated by these two, White Republicans. But in Johnathan Turley’s bubble, the ‘victims’ are those two White Republicans who were perfectly fine with disenfranchising every voter of Detroit!”
      Now if the voters were 78% white, that’d be peachy keen. When I see color brought into everything, everytime and everywhere, I’m reminded of Bill Maher’s observation that such a ruse was “formerly the position of the Klu Klux Klan.” No it still is — and of the Democratic Party.

    4. for some reason JT always seems to leave out the threats against Dems and anyone that stands up against tRump and for honest and fair elections. For JT and tRump the only fair election is one that tRump is ahead of – hate crimes are up as a result of the hate preached by tRump and condoned by JT. But JT has his and does not care about the regular common folks.

  8. Turley writes: Ned Staebler, chief executive of TechTown, lashed out at the two officials in asking for the correction of the errors: “The Trump stain, the stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have covered yourself in, is going to follow you throughout history.” He added that the two officials would “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.”

    From Southern Strategy to billionaire Trump, the Republican Party becomes, in the eyes of its opponents, the party of racist capitalism. From Lyndon Johnson to Biden-Harris, the Democratic Party becomes, in the eyes of its opponents, the party of reverse racist socialism. This is an ugly caricature of US politics, and many of us will spend the next four years finding creative American ways to transcend the apparent polarization.

    I am still wondering whether Biden speechwriters are planning to apologize in his presumptive inaugural for a national history of white supremacy. Appointing Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior would be historic:

    Democrats added a Hispanic to the Senate in New Mexico. John James, a Republican African American businessman, nearly won a Senate seat in Michigan.

    Gender equity is also vital. Democrats took a woman out of the Senate in Arizona. Will they take another woman out of the Senate in Georgia? Republicans, meanwhile, added a woman to the Senate in Wyoming.

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