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Michigan certifies Biden win, rejecting Trump fraud claims

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivers remarks about health care at Beech Woods Recreation Center October 16, 2020 in Southfield, Michigan.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Michigan’s top elections board certified Joe Biden‘s win in that state’s presidential vote Monday, dealing President Donald Trump yet another blow in his effort to block the Democrat’s national victory.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers signed off on the popular election results in a 3-0 vote.

Republican board member Aaron Van Langevelde voted to certify Biden’s victory, along with the board’s two Democrats, while the other GOP member, Norm Shinkle, abstained.

The vote came days after Trump held an unprecedented meeting at the White House with Republican state lawmakers from Michigan in what was believed to be an effort to get the state legislature to nullify the popular vote and appoint a slate of Trump electors to the Electoral College.

After the meeting, the legislators said they had seen no evidence of fraud that would invalidate the popular vote. They also said that they would follow state law, which mandates that the state’s Electoral College voters go to the winner of popular ballots.

Ben Halle, spokesman for Biden’s campaign in Michigan, said in a statement Monday, “We appreciate the state board’s recognition of the plain facts: President-elect Joe Biden resoundingly won the state of Michigan by more than 150,000 votes — 14 times the margin of Donald Trump in 2016.”

“We thank the State of Michigan for its support, and look forward to receiving its 16 electoral votes,” he said. 

Jenna Ellis, the Trump campaign’s senior legal advisor, in a statement said, “Certification by state officials is simply a procedural step. We are going to continue combatting election fraud around the country as we fight to count all the legal votes.”

“Americans must be assured that the final results are fair and legitimate,” Ellis said.

Trump’s campaign has claimed, without evidence, that he was swindled out of a victory in Michigan and elsewhere as a result of voting fraud. But those claims have repeatedly failed to gain traction in courts where the campaign and Trump allies have filed lawsuits.

The campaign dropped a federal lawsuit challenging ballots in the Detroit area last week, after falsely claiming that the Wayne County elections board had voted against certifiying results there. In fact, the board had certified Biden’s win that county, but two Republican members of the board later said they wanted to rescind their approval, a step that Michigan’s secretary of state is not legally possible.

Demonstrators in a car caravan demand the Board of State Canvassers to certify the results of the election in Lansing, Michigan, November 23, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

On Saturday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed, with a scathing written ruling, a lawsuit filed by Trump’s campaign that seeked to block that state’s counties from certifying their election results by today. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar is expected to sign off on the counties certifications after they are filed. Trump’s campaign is appealing the decision.

Michigan and Pennsylvania are among several states won by Biden that Trump had won in the 2016 election.

Georgia is another one of those states.

Georgia last week certified its votes showing a win for Biden after a hand recount of ballots. The state will now conduct a machine recount at the Trump campaign’s request.

Biden is currently projected to win 306 Electoral College votes, 36 electoral votes more than he needs to clinch the presidency.

Legal experts give Trump little, if any hope, of invalidating enough popular ballots for Biden in enough states, to peel off enough Electoral College votes to avoid defeat.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday, “I commend the three members of the State Board of Canvassers who voted to follow the law and certify the 2020 election results today.”

“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Whitmer said.

“I also want to thank Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the local clerks across Michigan who made sure this year’s election was free, fair and secure, and the voters who turned out in record numbers to make their voices heard. Now, it’s time to put this election behind us and come together as a state to defeat our common enemy: COVID-19.”

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