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Michigan Republican canvassers say they've received threats

Lansing — Norm Shinkle, a Republican member of the board in charge of certifying Michigan's election results, said Monday he received "quite a few" threats as he considered whether to validate the Nov. 3 vote.

The Board of State Canvassers convened to consider certifying the state's election tallies, which found Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won by 154,000 votes over Republican President Donald Trump.

The panel features two Republicans and two Democrats. But the spotlight has been on the GOP members. While taking a public comment from Monica Palmer, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, Shinkle said he's received "nasty emails telling me my family's at risk."

William Hartmann, left, and chairwoman Monica Palmer at the Wayne County Board of Canvassers meeting, which addressed the certification of the Nov. 3 election in Detroit on Nov. 17, 2020.

"I had one person even suggest you gotta vote yes to certify 'for the safety of your family,'" said Shinkle, who's also chairman of the 8th Congressional District Republican Committee.

Palmer has said she was threatened after initially voting last week not to certify Wayne County's election results and then switching to support certification and request an audit of the numbers.

She told the Board of State Canvassers that she received threats against her family including receiving graphic images of naked, dead women and a photo of her daughter "letting me know that that's what's going to happen to my daughter." Palmer said she was also called a terrorist and told that "my entire family should be fearful for their lives." 

​Shinkle told Palmer that he was sorry for what she went through, "as well as any other appointed official in the state of Michigan, if that happened to them."

"It's outrageous and should not occur. This is our new society: Whoever threatens the most seems to think they're gonna win," Shinkle said.

Board of State Canvassers Chairwoman Jeannette Bradshaw said on behalf of the board that she was sorry for what Palmer had experienced.

"It's very unfortunate and it's not appropriate at all," said Bradshaw, a Democrat.

Palmer and fellow Wayne County Republican canvasser William Hartmann signed affidavits saying they regretted their votes to certify the county results. Palmer said she wouldn't have voted to certify if she'd known that an audit wouldn't happen before certification

Palmer said Democratic Wayne County board Vice Chairman Jonathan Kinloch pulled her aside and offered a solution of an audit for the "unbalanced, unexplained precincts throughout Wayne County."

"In the heat of the moment, I should have realized that that the law does not allow for that audit to happen before your certification," she told the state canvassers on Monday. "Unfortunately, I did not put the two together in the stress of the moment, especially with the public commentary."

cmauger@detroitnews.com

Staff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed.