Michigan election official who refused to certify result for Biden dies of Covid

Eric Garcia
Thursday 02 December 2021 18:23
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A local elected official in Michigan who refused to certify the 2020 election result and President Joe Biden’s victory has died of Covid-19.

William Hartmann sat on the board of canvassers for Wayne County, which includes heavily Democratic Detroit. Last year, he and fellow Republican member Monica Palmer initially voted against certifying the election results, creating a tie on the board.

Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers William Hartmann, left and Republican chairperson Monica Palmer, to his right, were contacted by Donald Trump after they agreed to certify the county’s election results.

They later reversed course and certified the election results and Mr Hartmann said he did so after assurances there would be a post-election audit. This came despite the fact that Mr Biden beat former President Donald Trump overwhelmingly in the county.

While Mr Hartmann and another member ended up only slightly delaying the certification of the county’s results, the drama nevertheless was followed closely on the national stage as Mr Trump’s efforts to delegitimise the 2020 election continued. The objections to certifications of the 2020 election by Mr Trump’s supporters eventually led to a mob storming the Capitol on 6 January in an attempt to block Congress from counting the Electoral College votes.

A spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party made the announcement of his death to news channel WDIV Local 4, explaining that Mr Hartmann’s death had been reported to the party.

Michigan was one of several states contested by the Trump campaign in the weeks following Mr Trump’s defeat to Mr Biden. The Republican and his allies alleged widespread fraud in the state as well as Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin; none was ever proven.

In the case of Michigan, a statewide audit of the 2020 election was eventually conducted by the office of the secretary of State, the highest elections authority in the state, which upheld the integrity of Michigan’s 2020 results. The audit did find a small handful of errors made while counting absentee ballots, which were attributed by the state to officials having insufficient time to process all the ballots they received. The number of errors found was not significant enough to meaningfully affect the results of any local, statewide or national races.

“Over the last several months, the state Bureau of Elections has worked with local clerks to conduct more audits than ever before in our state’s history, and each has reaffirmed the accuracy, security and integrity of the November 2020 election,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in March. “We’ve responded to every question and claim and the evidence is clear. It is time for leaders across the political spectrum to tell their constituents the truth, that our election was the most secure in history, and the results accurately reflect the will of Michigan’s voters.”

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