Before riot, 11 Mich. Republican lawmakers asked VP to delay certifying the election

By: - January 7, 2021 8:55 am

Vice President Mike Pence in Saginaw, Dec. 18, 2019 | Andrew Roth

Eleven Michigan representatives joined dozens of Republicans from around the country in penning a letter to Vice President Mike Pence ahead of Wednesday’s joint congressional session asking him to decertify the Nov. 3 general election results and delay the counting of the electoral votes, which was supposed to take place Wednesday.

The process to certify President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the election was initially derailed Wednesday afternoon when a large crowd of pro-President Trump rioters swarmed the U.S. Capitol and eventually made their way inside. Both the House and Senate went into recess and were evacuated out of the chambers. 

After the Capitol was secured following its ransacking, Congress did certify Biden’s victory in proceedings that dipped into Thursday morning. Three Michigan U.S. House members — Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet), Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) and Lisa McClain (R-Bruce Twp.) — objected to results in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

 The 11 Republican House members who signed on to the letter to Pence were Reps. Julie Alexander (R-Hanover), Ken Borton (R-Gaylord), Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers), Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Twp.), Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan), Matt Maddock (R-Millford), Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville), John Reilly (R-Oakland), Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.) and Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp.).

The letter laid out the same unfounded conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud that right-wing lawmakers and Trump supporters have been leaning on since the election concluded.

The group of lawmakers ask that the certification be delayed by 10 days to allow for state legislatures to “meet, investigate and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election.”

Mich. Senate Republicans circulate ‘draft’ letter to Congress for ‘delay’ in Electoral College certification

“American elections must be transparent, inclusive and produce results in which the American people have faith. The 2020 election, thus far, has failed in this respect. Your actions consistent with this request can repair this failing,” the lawmakers wrote. 

However, Pence wrote in a letter to Congress Wednesday that he does not have the power to overturn the election results. 

It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence wrote.

In total, about 90 state lawmakers from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan signed on to this letter. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8.