Some comments you may not have heard about MI canvass vote
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted to certify the state’s November election, which President-Elect Joe Biden won by more than 150,000 votes, following a marathon public meeting Monday. After the vote, the board opened the meeting to the more than 800 people signed up to publicly comment. A few people waited all day to be heard.
More than 28,000 people tuned into the Board of State Canvassers meeting via YouTube Monday as the eyes of the nation focused on whether Michigan’s election results would be certified. Many stopped watching after canvassers voted 3-0 to certify, but hundreds of people who were worried about being disenfranchised stayed on the line to comment.
“Hello can you hear me? ‘Hear I am. Hello, hello.’ I’m trying with my computer to come back up thank you. Well, good evening madam chair and the state board of canvassers.”
Canvasser Jeannette Bradshaw let people know they had a minute and a half to comment.
“You can state and spell you first and last name. You have a minute and a half and thank you for joining us.”
Johanna Bogater, a City Commissioner from the Upper Peninsula waited for eight hours.
“Good evening, thank you for your time and allowing me the opportunity to speak. What a wild ride. I’ve been with you since one.”
She thanked the three canvassers who voted to certify.
“We Michiganders, all of us. Black, white, brown, rich or poor, Native or newcomer we turned out in record numbers to vote and in record numbers we made a decision about who we want to represent us. If the outcome makes anyone uncomfortable it’s not a reason to disenfranchise those voices.
In the last hour calls came from Older Black voters, election workers, government officials, and college students who’d been on since the meeting started. Robin Smith is a precinct chair from Lansing.
The citizens of Michigan, that’s right the voters, came out in force during a pandemic. We lifted up our voices. We stand and we will not stand for the deliberate attempt to target and disenfranchise Black and brown voters her in Michigan.
Connie Mitchell introduced herself as a proud 73-year old Black voter who has worked for years to get people to understand their votes counts, she says in her city they saw record turnout.
“And we think the efforts of a number of us in the city who did some of everything amid the COVID pandemic made a difference in what happened. We would hate them to go back to thinking their vote does not count.”
She says she was concerned that what she watched play out over the past few weeks was an attempt to disenfranchise voters, especially Black voters.
“And I would like to thank the three of you who voted to certify the state of Michigan this afternoon. I applaud you for your courage.”
Most callers in the last hour, including Mitchell, expressed appreciation that the canvassers certified. When their 90 seconds was up, a timer started to ring and they’d be put back on mute.
“Thank you very much. ‘Thank you once again for certifying Michigan’s vote.’ ‘To by brothers and sisters making your voices heard in whatever capacity you have, thank you. Thank you for time.”
The meeting was briefly at the center of American Democracy, a normally mundane bureaucratic process that turned into a national spectacle. After casting their ballots it was a rare second chance for these voters to defend their share of Democracy when they felt it was being threatened. And they waited eight hours for their voices to be heard.