Despite concern that its two Republican members would upend precedent and sow chaos by refusing to do so, Michigan's Board of State Canvassers officially certified the state's election Monday afternoon following an hours long public comment period.
"Michiganders stood strong against intimidation and misinformation on Election Day and in the days since they've fought against a coordinated, right-wing effort to undermine and steal our election."
—Lonnie Scott, Progress Michigan
With the two Democrats on the board voting for certification joined by Republican member and vice chairman Aaron Van Langevelde, the abstention by Republican Norman Shinkle was a symbolic move that could not stand in the way of the final result.
According to the Detroit Free Press:
The vote is the latest in a series of procedural steps needed to finalize election results and cast the state's 16 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
Biden earned approximately 154,000 more votes than President Donald Trump in the state. However, Trump and supporters have argued, without evidence and relying on conspiracy theories, that Michigan's election results were stolen or are otherwise fraudulent.
Demoractic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer heralded the vote and said "the people of Michigan have spoken."
Governor Whitmer’s Statement on State Board of Canvassers Vote to Certify 2020 Election Results: pic.twitter.com/h15YcdUGWt
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) November 23, 2020
Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, called the vote "a victory for the people of Michigan and our democracy."
"Michiganders," said Scott, "stood strong against intimidation and misinformation on Election Day and in the days since they've fought against a coordinated, right-wing effort to undermine and steal our election. The people organized, spoke out and won the day. There's work to do ahead, but today is cause for celebration."
Earlier: WATCH LIVE: Michigan Board of State Canvassers Meets for Election Certification
The eyes of the nation were fixed on Michigan Monday as the Board of State Canvassers convened for a livestreamed meeting in which the panel took public comment and is slated to vote to certify officially that President-elect Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the key battleground state.
The outcome is anything but certain, however, as the two Republicans on the four-member panel have left many believing they could move against certification.
As the Detroit Free Press reports, if the two GOP members, Norman Shinkle and Aaron Van Langevelde, vote no on certification, it "would be the first time in history" that the state's elections board deadlocked on a president election.
Barb Byrum, the Democratic clerk of Ingham County, said during the meeting that a vote against certifying the state's election results would amount to an "unlawful power grab" and "signal that democracy is dying in Michigan."
At the start of Monday's meeting, Van Langevelde signaled he is leaning toward voting in favor of certifying the election, a move that would imperil the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the state's results.
"I think that the board's duty today is very important. We have a duty to certify this election based on the returns," Van Langevelde said. "That is very clear... But I still think that people who signed up to speak today should have the chance to speak before we act on the motion."