ANN ARBOR, MI — It’s official: Joe Biden carried Washtenaw County by a margin of 100,895 votes.
The county’s bipartisan board of canvassers finished certifying the Nov. 3 election results Thursday, Nov. 12, said Ed Golembiewski, county elections director.
Washtenaw’s now-official tallies show the Democratic former vice president netted over 72% of the county’s vote against Republican President Donald Trump.
“I am 100% confident in the integrity of the election in Washtenaw County and in the process that has delivered official results today,” Golembiewski said, declining to comment on pending litigation challenging the county’s results.
The final count after Democratic and Republican canvassers spent days combing through the county’s election records was 157,136 to 56,241, with Biden gaining six votes compared to the unofficial results initially reported last week.
The count for Trump stayed the same.
The two Republican canvassers in Washtenaw are former County Commissioner Dan Smith of Northfield Township and Teena Weaver-Gordon of Scio Township.
The Democrats are Mary Hall-Thiam and Doug Scott, both local Democratic Party officers from Ann Arbor.
Under Michigan election law, a four-member board of canvassers is established in every county in the state. The members are nominated by the chairs of the county’s Republican and Democratic parties and appointed by the county board, and they take an oath to uphold the constitution.
Weaver-Gordon is the wife of Washtenaw County Republican Party Chairman Bill Gordon.
“For the most part, Washtenaw County was pretty well run and, to the best of my knowledge, there weren’t any major issues,” the party chairman said after results were certified Thursday.
“My biggest concern is that the precincts be recountable, and so that was something I was hoping that the canvassers paid close attention to, to make sure the precincts will be recountable if that ever has to happen. Beyond that, I’m satisfied.”
The fact that Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County went big for Biden contributed to his narrow win in Michigan, helping him clinch the presidency.
But four Michigan voters have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to exclude the presidential election results in Wayne, Washtenaw and Ingham counties, making allegations of fraud echoing other legal challenges brought forward since Trump refused to concede in what he calls a rigged election.
Golembiewski explained how Biden picked up six more votes in the final Washtenaw numbers reported Thursday.
That was a result of including two provisional ballots found to be valid by the appropriate city/township clerk and five absentee ballots that were legally received by the deadline but could not be tabulated on Election Day, he said.
“The votes cast on these ballots were added by the Washtenaw County Board of Canvassers and included in the official results in accordance with their legal authority,” he said.
The bipartisan board conducted a thorough review of the election returns from every voting precinct and absentee vote count board, Golembiewski said.
“Every vote has been counted accurately,” he said.
He noted the canvassers were so impressed by the thoroughness and accuracy of the vote returns that they wrote a letter, signed by all four members, congratulating all of the city and township clerks in the county for an excellent job in managing the election.
Read the letter:
A total of 216,931 votes were cast in the presidential race in Washtenaw County, out of 217,820 total ballots, officially reported as 68% turnout.
Over 3,500 county residents voted for third-party presidential candidates or write-ins.
That includes 1,956 votes for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and 651 for the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins.
Another 195 voted for the U.S. Taxpayers’ Don Blankenship and 101 for the Natural Law Party’s Rocky De La Fuente, while 128 voted for write-in Brian Carroll of the American Solidarity Party and 10 for independent write-in Jade Simmons.
There were 513 rejected write-in votes, meaning that many voters wrote in names of people who weren’t candidates.
“From what I saw of the write-in votes, Bernie Sanders, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Kanye West, Jesus, Mickey Mouse and None of the Above were represented more than once,” Golembiewski said.
With record turnout, Biden netted 28,653 more votes here than Hillary Clinton did against Trump in 2016, while Trump also picked up 5,610 more votes than he had last time.
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