Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan governor, calls Republicans’ initial refusal to certify Detroit-area votes ‘mind-boggling’


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Whitmer, a Democrat, was responding on CNN’s “New Day” to the shocking decision Tuesday night by the two Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to block a routine certification of the results, citing dubious claims of voting irregularities in Detroit. Hours later — and after prolonged public outcry — the panel reversed itself and unanimously certified the county’s presidential results.

“It was just kind of mind-boggling. This is a ministerial duty that these board members have taken an oath to uphold and this was incredibly distressing for that short period of time that it stood,” Whitmer told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.

Whitmer praised the Wayne County citizens and activists who organized and lined up Tuesday to voice their frustration over the board’s initial decision.

“I think that they really changed the outcome here,” she told CNN on Wednesday.

The governor added that she has “every expectation” that the state board of canvassers will complete the process of finalizing the results next week and “that the will of the voters will be respected.”

Biden won Michigan by more than 148,000 votes, a victory made possible by a strong showing in Wayne County, where he netted more than 322,000 votes over President Donald Trump.

But Trump has refused to concede the national race, instead mounting a long-shot attempt to overturn the results through lawsuits and the Electoral College on the premise that GOP-controlled legislatures in some states could advance Trump-friendly electors rather than abiding by the popular vote.

Jenna Ellis, one of the Trump campaign’s legal advisers, made such a case on Tuesday night when she said the initial refusal to certify the results should open the door for the “Republican state legislator (sic) will select the electors.”

Whitmer, however, told CNN that it will not get to that point in Michigan because the “the law is clear and the vote was overwhelming.”

“We’ve got to go into this with, of course, bracing ourselves for more shenanigans, but at the end of the day, the will of the people will be respected and Joe Biden won Michigan,” she said.

CNN’s Annie Grayer and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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