RNC Chair Ronna [formerly Romney] McDaniel and the Michigan Republican chair are trying more chicanery in Michigan today: they want certification put off until an audit is done. But under Michigan law, an audit can only be performed after the election is certified.
National and state Republicans have mounted a last-ditch effort to keep Michigan's Board of State Canvassers from certifying results from the presidential election.
In a letter sent Saturday, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox urged the board to adjourn for 14 days to allow a full audit and investigation so “numerical anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities” can be addressed.
But Michigan law doesn’t work that way. From the Secretary of State’s Post-Election Audit Manual:
The post-election audit must be conducted within 30 days of Canvass completion unless a recount has been ordered. The post-election audit will require the inspection of election documents and the procedures used prior to the election and on election day. [italics in original]
In other words, certification first, then audit. (I’ve seen comments that auditors can’t legally get access to the ballots prior to certification, but I didn’t see that law.) Also, state law makes clear that audits do not affect the election itself:
An audit conducted under this section is not a recount and does not change any certified election results. [168.31a(2)]
They want the audit the certification, but state law requires certification before audit. Any Michigan judge will rule that way — if it even gets that far. And an audit won’t change the outcome. In any case, the SoS says Michigan has been preparing for a post-election audit all along:
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her office is on track to perform a statewide risk-limiting audit of November’s general election as well as local performance audits of individual jurisdictions.
Benson’s office has been preparing for a post-election audit over the last 22 months, she said.
It sounds like McDaniel is getting legal advice from Giuliani (who is managing the Michigan lawsuits).
“This morning [Thursday] we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted,” said Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a Nov. 19 statement.
That was after the two Wayne county Republicans tried to rescind their certification, and evidently before they were told they couldn’t. In addition, they may possibly have committed perjury in those affidavits by saying they wanted to rescind because the audit wasn’t going to happen — which it is.
Another question is whether McDaniel herself could be in legal trouble for improperly interfering in the state election. IANAL but I would think it’s at least something to be explored. Definitely Trump is in jeopardy for ham-handed summoning the legislative leaders.
Anyway, that’s this morning’s Catch-22.