November 21, 2020
By Simon Lewis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party wrote to Michigan’s state board of canvassers on Saturday asking it to adjourn for 14 days to allow for an audit of ballots in the state’s largest county.
A Michigan official said such an audit was not permitted under Michigan law.
The letter came as Wayne County, which includes the majority-Black city of Detroit, has become a focus of President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election in states that were decisive in his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden.
Two Republicans on the Wayne County canvassing board attempted to rescind their votes to certify the county’s results after Trump himself called them. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said the certification could not be reversed.
The state board, which includes two Democrats and two Republicans, is due to meet on Monday to certify election results and will have as many as 20 days to do so.
The letter urged a “full, transparent audit” in Wayne county, citing “numerical anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities” made by a losing Republican candidate for the Senate.
Asked about the letter on Saturday, Michigan Department of State spokesman Jake Rollow said Michigan law does not permit audits ahead of the certification of election results.
“Audits play a different role in Michigan elections – to examine and identify errors for future improvement,” Rollow said in a written statement, adding no evidence of widespread misconduct or fraud had been reported.
Candidates could still request a recount after certification that could change the outcome of the election, he said.
The department on Friday recommended that the state board certify the results, which showed Biden winning in Michigan by 154,187 votes.
It said there were small tabulation and reporting errors but they were “typical human error similar to that which has occurred in past elections” and did not affect the results.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andrea Ricci)