US reps debate timeline for Wayne County vote certification, masks

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Nearly three weeks after the Nov. 3 election, Wayne County vote certification remains a hot button issue for Michigan lawmakers.

Sunday on WDIV's "Flashpoint," newly elected U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain, a Republican, told host Devin Scillian she remains unsure of the election outcome and more time is needed to sort it out.

"When we get it right, it's easier for both sides to move on and go forward in a positive fashion," McClain said. "We need to make sure that we have counted every legal vote and that every legal vote is transparent."

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain

In response to McClain, Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, who expressed frustration with the Wayne County Board of Canvassers last week, said delaying the certification undermines democracy.

"People are deliberately trying to extend this certification period out, they're trying to undermine people's confidence in the result of this election," Dingell said. "Livonia's ... numbers were more off than the city of Detroit but nobody raised an issue."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell

Last week, two Republican Wayne County canvassers signed affidavits saying they regret their votes to certify the Nov. 3 election, arguing that "intense bullying and coercion" plus bad legal advice forced them to agree to certify the election after they had voted no. 

However, the Nov. 17 certification still moved on Wayne County's results to the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers, which is set to meet Monday. 

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, also a Democrat, said the election outcome is not debatable and the vote should be certified.

"Joe Biden won Michigan by 14 times what Donald Trump won Michigan by in 2016. There's no question about it," Levin said. "There's not one scintilla of actual evidence that there's a problem. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers should have certified, it was not something in their discretion or judgement, they were legally required to certify."

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin

The topic then moved to on the politicization of wearing masks. While Levin and Dingell said they believed in listening to experts on the importance of wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, McClain said people should do what's in their best interest. 

"I'm a big believer in individual freedoms," McClain said. "We need to follow the experts, but the issue is we haven't been in the situation before. So, to me, let's pause and let's do what's right in the best interest of ourselves, our family, our friends and our country."

Levin was more direct in his response. 

"It's nothing about my freedom, I cherish my freedoms as much as anybody. But when we found out that seatbelts saves lives, we mandated them ... and it's not a restriction of my freedom to put on my gosh darn seatbelt," Levin said. "We are talking about an epidemic where we're unnecessarily losing 10s of thousands of Americans. ... It's not a very big sacrifice for me to wear a mask."