More Behind Wayne County’s Certification Nightmare

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As critics sounded off on Monica Palmer and William Hartmann Tuesday night in Wayne County’s certification dustup, the two Republican dissidents blinked.

“I sat for two hours listening to people attack me,” Palmer, the Republican chairwoman of the four-member board, said in a statement Wednesday providing her perspective on the controversy. She said it could have been avoided: “If we had the discussion earlier…but they, the Democrats, were too busy trying to belittle me.”

When certification is normally a formality, Palmer and Hartmann took a lot of heat from the public, including comments on Zoom that accused the two Republicans of racism for wanting to exclude the City of Detroit. Palmer acknowledged she felt pressure to certify, and that she and her family received 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 at the heart of the Wayne County argument were centered on poll discrepancies that occur statewide, not exclusive to Wayne County or the City of Detroit. About 70% of Detroit’s absentee counts were out of balance, but the total number of votes in question was roughly 400 out of 250,000.

While Palmer said she didn’t see the discrepancies affecting the outcome of the election, she is second-guessing her agreement to certify with the promise of an audit.

And both Palmer and Hartmann signed affidavits late Wednesday saying they were enticed to change their votes to “yes” on certification by promises of an audit. Both said they now believe state officials do not intend to carry out that promise and they would like to rescind their votes for certification.

Palmer said that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was suggesting by 9:30pm Tuesday that an audit was not binding, and that she acted to certify in good faith and felt misled.

 Jonathan Kinloch, the Democratic vice chair of the board, after initially praising Palmer and Hartmann for changing their votes to certify Wayne County, had different thoughts following Palmer’s comments.

“This is not a game,” he said Wednesday night, adding that Palmer showed a “reckless and total disregard to the responsibility that’s at hand.”

“She needs to submit her resignation forthwith.”

Kinloch said he plans to request the audit agreed upon so that Wayne County can move forward and “stop proselytizing.”

Detroit Free Press