Monica Palmer, a Republican member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, made headlines this week after first refusing to certify the 2020 presidential election results, then agreeing to support the results, before again opposing them.
But Palmer claimed during a Friday press conference her change of heart was not because of a phone call she had with President Trump on Tuesday.
Trump reportedly called Palmer while she was in a car with fellow canvasser William Hartmann, who was also initially opposed to certifying the election results.
The president “thanked me for my service as a canvasser and asked me how I was doing,” Palmer said Friday. “There was a genuine concern for my safety.”
The Wayne County Board of Canvassers was split in a 2-2 tie with Palmer and Hartmann initially voting against certifying the votes. After a five hour deliberation, Democrat canvasser Johnathan Kinloch motioned a compromise calling for the votes to be certified so long as an audit was conducted on the county’s election results, according to Michigan Live.
The initial split was dues to what the canvassers believed to be unexplained discrepancies in Detroit.
“This isn’t about the presidential election,” Palmer said. “My vote no was to ensure the voters of Detroit could have a recount. The motion to certify was contingent on the comprehensive audit being preformed before the election results were finalized.”
Palmer claimed the president’s call did not affect her decision to then sign an affidavit and rescind her support certifying the election results, and said her intention is not take votes away from any candidate but to “give the state 10 extra days to investigate why precincts weren’t balanced.”
“It was brought to my attention that minutes after the meeting, [Secretary of State Jocelyn] Benson said the motion was not binding and she wouldn’t go through with the audit,” Palmer said.
In a statement after Tuesday’s certification, Benson said that while her office intended to conduct statewide audits, but added that “mythical allegations” would not be addressed, alluding to the Wayne County Board’s request for a comprehensive audit.
“Throughout my tenure as Michigan Secretary of State, and indeed long before, I have spoken repeatedly on the importance of post-election audits to ensure Michiganders can trust the outcome of our elections as an accurate reflection of the will of the people,” she said Thursday. “Notably, audits are neither designed to address nor performed in response to false or mythical allegations of ‘irregularities’ that have no basis in fact.”
A reported 70 percent of Detroit’s precincts were found “unbalanced” after the Nov. 3 election, a result of people forgetting to sign out after they voted or a jammed tabulator, according to Michigan Live, though not something that generally constitutes voter fraud.
Palmer acknowledged the outcome of the presidential election will not change after the audit, but said she wants to find improvements for the election process in Wayne County.
Trump met with members of Michigan’s GOP on Friday, in what is a suspected attempt to continue his efforts to overturn the election results, though details of the meeting have not yet been released.