Hello and goodThursday,
Michigan Republicans set to replace leading election panel leaders with candidates who have embraced conspiracy theories about the latest election, a move that could cause significant chaos in the vote count in the 2024 elections and beyond.
Some of those named expressed racist views and expressed support that the 2020 election was stolen. Excellent report in the Detroit News this week explains how it goes.
This year, Republicans have appointed new people to serve on canvassing boards - who play an important role in the election process - in eight of Michigan's 11 largest counties. Michigan is a statekey in the US presidential elections and Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by more than 154,000 votes in 2020.
"It 's very unusual," Chris Thomas , who served as the state's chief electoral officer for decades, told me. “Die-hard activists aren't necessarily the best people for a position that requires, frankly, a bit of neutrality.
After election day, a committee of people canvassers in each county, split equally between Republicans and Democrats, reviews the election results in the circumion and make sure there are no abnormalities that need to be investigated. Once they have verified the results, they certify them, forwarding them to the state canvassing board for final certification.
The year last, the advice usually under the radar of canvassers has becomeu a key part of Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election in Michigan. Faced with pressure from Trump and his allies, the two Republican members of the Wayne County Solicitors Council, the most populous in the state and seat of Detroit, initially refused to certify the election results before de finally retreat .
Similar pressure was put on Republicans in the state canvassing council, which ultimately certified the vote after a high-stakes hearing in which Aaron van Langevelde, a Republican, side with the Democrats to certify the vote. Van Langevelde has since been replaced on the state canvassing board.
Monica Palmer, one of the Republican canvassers in Wayne County who voted to certify the vote , is one of those who are not selected for another term. "I think this is clearly an attempt [to make sure] that I don't stay on the canvassing committee because I finally certified the election ", Palmer said the Detroit News last week.
Among the three people the Republicans proposed to replace Palmer is Hima Kolanagireddy, who appears to be the same person who appeared with Rudy Giuliani at a state legislative hearing last year and did racist comments on Chinois Americans .
In Macomb County, which includes the suburb of Detroit, Republicans named by one person, Nancy Tiseo, for an opening on the board of canvassers. Tiseo urged Trump last year to "suspend" the Electoral College meeting and set up "military tribunals" to investigate the election.
The moves in Michigan come as people who embraced the lies about the 2020 election have launched campaigns to become the election official in multiple states , a perch from which they could wreak havoc considerable in 2024 and beyond.
Thomas, Michigan 's former chief electoral officer, said the new canvassers, acting alone, would not be measureprevent the state from certifying election results in 2022 or 2024. But if no more "stop the theft" lawyers are placed on boards in 2023, he said, they could lead to a stalemate in county committees, slowing down the certification process after the election.
"This can be very disruptive," he said. “They have a position, so they have a spokesperson. They are therefore able, like any solicitor, to express disinformation and disinformation and the media will retain some of it. It gives them a bully chair if you will. It is a little unsettling, to be sure.
Thomas said he would be more worried if 'stop the flight' advocates started to win board seats state, which has the final say in the certification of elections. I will keep an eye on developments. Questions des readers
Thanks to everyone who wrote in the last week with questions. You can continue to write to me weekly at [email protected] or DM me on twitter at @ srl and I will try to answer as much as possible.
Alex from Scotland writes : "A European could start to think the unthinkable - is the United States done with and as a democracy? "
When we launched our voting rights project two years ago, we asked same question : how can the United States call itself a democracyif they keep that many people away from the ballot boxes? The 2020 election, in which Republicans openly made an effort to overturn the election results, made this question more relevant than ever.
But rethinking in the elections, it is clear that America 's democratic safeguards have held up. The person with the most votes in the presidential election, Joe Biden, won. The institutions that were supposed to protect the democratic process, from state secretaries to federal and state courts, to Congress, have finally fulfilled their functions. But they have been tested. Today, some activists and politicians hope to strengthen these safeguards so that a bold attack on democracy in 2024 does not succeed.