These Michigan lawmakers sought to delay certifying 2020 election

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Eleven Michigan state House members were among an unsuccessful push a year ago this week to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay certifying the results of the 2020 election.

An insurrection at the U.S. Capitol unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress met to certify states' Electoral College votes, with supporters of then-President Donald Trump storming the building and forcing legislators to temporarily evacuate their chambers.

A day before the historic events, a group of Republican lawmakers from Michigan signed on to a letter to Pence, who presided over the joint session, asking him to postpone "the January 6th opening and counting of the electoral votes for at least 10 days."

The delay, which would have been a boon for Trump's efforts to undermine the results, would have given state legislatures time to "to meet, investigate, and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election," their letter said.

In addition to Michigan, Republican lawmakers from the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin signed the letter.

In Michigan, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points, a result that has been upheld by a series of court rulings, more than 200 audits across the state and an investigation by the GOP-controlled state Senate Oversight Committee.

According to the document, signing onto the letter from Michigan were state Reps. Julie Alexander of Hanover, Ken Borton of Gaylord, Steve Carra of Three Rivers, Gary Eisen of St. Clair Township, Beth Griffin of Mattawan, Matt Maddock of Milford, Luke Meerman of Coopersville, John Reilly of Oakland Township, Daire Rendon of Lake City, Mary Whiteford of Casco Township and Doug Wozniak of Shelby Township.

Wozniak has since been elected to the state Senate.

"We intend on fulfilling our oaths of office by properly investigating and determining whether the election should be certified, or decertified, by our respective state legislatures," their letter said.

On Jan. 4, 2021, 11 Michigan GOP senators signed their own letter, asking the joint session of Congress to "pursue every available option" to examine unproven claims of wrongdoing in the election. That letter was one of two versions of the senators' request that were posted on social media on Jan. 5, 2021.

Eleven Michigan senators signed a letter asking the U.S. Congress to investigate claims of misconduct in the election.

In one version, described as a draft that was accidentally released publicly, the lawmakers asked Congress to "temporarily delay certification in the name of national unity."

The final version didn't include that statement and instead called on "the imminent joint session of Congress to pursue every available option and procedure to examine the credible allegations of election-related concerns surrounding fraud and irregularities."

Those who signed the Senate letter were Tom Barrett of Charlotte, John Bizon of Battle Creek, Kevin Daley of Lum, Kim LaSata of Bainbridge Township, Dan Lauwers of Brockway Township, Rick Outman of Six Lakes, Jim Runestad of White Lake, Curt VanderWall of Ludington, Roger Victory of Hudsonville and Dale Zorn of Ida.

Michigan's Republican legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and then-House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, resisted the idea of interfering in Michigan's process of awarding its 16 electoral votes.

On Dec. 14, Shirkey said "disappointments" and "feelings" were subordinate "to the health of our democracy and the will of the majority."

More than five months later, on June 23, the Senate Oversight Committee released the results of its months-long investigation into the 2020 election, finding no evidence to prove "significant acts of fraud" occurred to subvert the will of voters.

cmauger@detroitnews.com