Officials on Michigan's state elections board voted to certify President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 victory on Monday afternoon, thwarting a plot President Donald Trump and his allies have floated to steal the election in the face of defeat.
The bipartisan board voted 3-0 to certify the result. One of the Republican members, Norm Shinkle, who had publicly expressed doubts about Biden's victory despite no evidence of serious malfeasance in the state, abstained from the vote.
That's disturbing on its own. Usually, certification of election results is hardly a newsworthy event. It's a formality that follows the actual vote, affirming the widely accepted result. But Trump's attempt to cast doubt on the election — even in Michigan, where he lost by more than 150,000 votes — has succeeded in spreading disinformation and distrust in the results into much of the GOP. It's reasonable to fear that a Republican abstaining from certifying the election may be a precursor to future efforts to overturn legitimate results and thwart the intent of voters.
But for now, Trump's plot to remain in power has hit the skids. Georgia and Arizona, two key swing states, have already certified their votes for Biden. In Michigan, Trump has met with top Republican legislators on Friday, raising fears that he was pressuring them to overturn the voters' decision in the presidential race. While they initially suggested they saw no reason to doubt Biden's win, the suggestion remained that the legislature might try to step in and throw the state's Electoral College votes to Trump if the state failed to certify.
That path, however, was abruptly closed off on Monday when the board voted to certify the official results.
Despite allegations from the Trump campaign that the voting process was corrupted and fraudulent, there's been no evidence that the result was significantly impacted by any misconduct at all. The campaign's lawsuits trying to stop the election results from being certified have been repeatedly thrown out of court.
Aaron Van Langevelde, one of the Republicans on the Michigan election board, said Monday that he believed it was legally obligated to certify the election. He voted with the two Democrats to approve the results.