Republican Electors Blocked From State Capitol in Michigan

December 14, 2020 Updated: December 15, 2020

Republican electors in Michigan were blocked on Monday from accessing the state capitol in Lansing.

Democratic electors were permitted to enter.

Only people with appointments or those taking part in the Electoral College process were able to enter the building because it was ordered closed by legislators due to “credible threats of violence,” a Michigan State Police officer told Republican electors while blocking their entry, video footage from the scene showed.

“We are electors,” the group of about a dozen said.

“The electors are already here, they’ve been checked in,” the officer responded.

“Not all of them,” one of the electors rejoined.

“All 16 electors that we’ve been advised by the governor’s staff that were going to be here to vote in the Electoral College have been checked in and are already here,” the officer said.

Meshawn Maddock, a Republican elector at large, said in a statement that GOP electors were still able to cast their ballots for President Donald Trump and send certificates to Washington.

“Today we did not replace any Democrat Electors. We sent Republican Electors along side the Democrat Electors just to be safe despite being blocked from entering the Capitol,” she said on Facebook.

The Michigan Republican Party didn’t return a voicemail.

The office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, didn’t pick up the phone or return a request for comment.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, didn’t respond to emails.

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Supporters of President Donald Trump gather on the steps of the Michigan state capital as the Electoral College votes, in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 14, 2020. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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Police officers check the perimeters as Michigan electors gather to cast their votes for the presidential election at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 14, 2020. (Emily Elconin/Reuters)
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Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist opens the state’s Democratic electors at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 14, 2020. (Carlos Osorio/AFP via Getty Images)
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state’s Democratic electors at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 14, 2020. (Carlos Osorio/AFP via Getty Images)

Ian Northon, an attorney with The Thomas More Foundation’s Amistad Project, told reporters outside the capitol that the Republican electors were “being stopped from fulfilling their constitutional duty.”

“I would call upon the Michigan legislature … to finish their investigation so that we know which set of electors should ultimately be chosen before a rash decision is made,” he added.

Michigan lawmakers are probing allegations of election fraud and other irregularities.

Democrat electors later cast ballots for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who won Michigan by over 54,000 votes, according to the certified vote count.

Under the Electoral College system, voters mark the presidential candidate they support but they’re actually voting for a slate of electors.

The electors from the party whose candidate wins more votes in a state then cast their votes for the party’s candidate about a month after the election.

Those votes are counted by a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

In multiple states where Biden was listed as the winner in the certified vote count, Republican electors on Monday cast their votes for Trump.

Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer said the move was due to a lawsuit from Trump’s campaign pending in the state.

“Had we not met today and cast our votes, the President’s pending election contest would have been effectively mooted. Our action today preserves his rights under Georgia law,” he said in a statement.

That sets up some states having two groups of electors, a situation known as dueling electors, or alternate electors.

The House of Representatives and Senate will have to decide next month which set of electors to select. If the chambers split, that could lead a state’s electors being rejected by Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the Senate.

The situation played out in 1876, when two sets of electors in several states submitted votes. Republican Rutherford Hayes was eventually declared the winner by one electoral vote, after the parties reached an agreement that saw Hayes remove all federal troops from the former Confederacy.

Two sets of electors could also bolster the popularity of plans to file objections to the vote counts of some states. Three members of the lower chamber have said they will file objections; two senators are pondering joining them.

Trump adviser Stephen Miller said the situation could lead to the president winning, pending the outcome of lawsuits in the states.

“That means that if we win these cases in the courts, that we can direct that the ultimate slate of electors be certified. The state legislatures in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, can do the same. And likewise, Congress has that opportunity as well to do the right thing,” Miller said on “Fox & Friends.”

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