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Michigan attorney general says delaying certification of election results could disenfranchise her state

Michigan AG on certification of election
Michigan AG on certification of election 09:33

Republicans and President Trump, who still refuses to acknowledge his defeat over a week after Joe Biden was projected to have won the election, are relying on the courts to deliver a second term, but in the numerous lawsuits they have filed so far, they've been mostly unsuccessful.

A few of these cases were filed in Michigan, where they're trying to stop the state and its largest county from counting absentee ballots and certifying election results. Mr. Trump and Republicans have alleged that ineligible ballots were cast and that absentee vote counting boards were being conducted without election inspectors from each party present.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, in an interview with CBSN's Elaine Quijano on "Red and Blue," pointed out that "there has been no court yet indicated that these claims are meritorious or that there's any validity to them," or that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.

Nessel also pointed out that if the Trump campaign and Republicans want to revisit the results, they're "welcome to a recount if they'd like it." But the margin, she noted, is close to 150,000 votes.

"While a recount might discover errors, here and there — a handful of votes," she said, adding it's "certainly not going to change in the tens of thousands that way."

The certification process is "moving forward," Nessel said, and "our 16 electoral votes will be awarded to Joe Biden because he by far won the most votes in our state."

Asked whether a recount in Michigan might restore some confidence in the process, Nessel said, "Look, if they want to pay for a recount, absolutely they can go ahead and do that."

But she referred to the judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court, who "made it very clear" that holding off on certification over claims that have not been found by any court to be substantiated could result in Michigan's exclusion from the Electoral College.

That would mean "Michigan would not be participating, and that has been called an unprecedented act of judicial activism by some of the most conservative judges in the state," Nessel said. She added, "It would mean that we couldn't even participate in that process and everyone — all 5.5 million voters in the state of Michigan — would be disenfranchised and wouldn't be included ... And that's why we don't do that."

Nessel was quoting Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Kenny, who a few days ago denied a lawsuit for an independent audit of the county's votes because it could prevent the state from certifying its electors and "could disenfranchise Michigan voters from having their state electors participate in the Electoral College vote" on December 14, and could therefore "undermine faith in the Electoral System."

If there had been "substance" or "clear error in the tens of thousands of votes" cast, that "might be one thing, but there has been absolutely no substance of any kind," Nessel said. "I don't know what to call it — except for people who are unable to come to grips with the fact that they lost these elections."

On Tuesday evening, after the interview with Nessel, the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, initially failed to certify election results for the county. The board, with two Republicans and two Democrats, was deadlocked. However, later Tuesday evening, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers unanimously voted to certify the results of the election and called on Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to conduct an audit of the precincts in Wayne County that had absentee ballots cast that did not match the number of ballots recorded.

Adam Brewster contributed to this report.

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