11/23 Daily Update: Michigan Has Spoken

Published: 11.23.20

What a whirlwind! Today, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state’s election results. Ahead of the Board’s meeting, the Voter Protection Program held a press briefing to prepare reporters on what to expect. Read the AP’s story here. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is also working toward certification; Arizona’s counties finalized their counts on time; and a recount is underway in Wisconsin. This evening, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy informed President-elect Biden in a letter that the Trump administration will begin the formal transition process. President Trump claims this does not mean he is giving up his quixotic quest to invalidate the election.

Ahead of Emily Murphy’s decision to release transition funds, more than 160 top American executives asked the administration to immediately acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. Signatories to the letter included the chief executives of Mastercard, Visa, MetLife, Accenture, the Carlyle Group, Condé Nast, McGraw-Hill, and American International Group, among others, as well as many prominent Republicans. Read their letter here.

To counter disinformation and affirm support for the people’s choice, the VPP released an ad urging the Trump campaign and all leaders to respect the will of Michigan voters. The ad will run in Michigan for the next week.

It’s not over yet, but we’re winning the fight to protect the results! Here’s your update:

National Updates

Mighty, Mighty Michigan: The Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted Monday (3-0, with one member abstaining) to certify the state’s election results and formally grant President-elect Joe Biden the state’s 16 electoral votes. Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement today commending board members for following the law. Attorney General Dana Nessel emphasized in her statement that it is now the responsibility of every official and leader in this country to ensure that the will of the voters is heard. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson praised the resiliency of our democracy.

Are You Not Ascertained? This evening, General Services Administration head Emily Murphy, the Trump appointee who is responsible for ascertaining  the “apparent” election winner and triggering the transition process, finally sent President-elect Biden a letter that will allow him to access federal transition funds and engage with outgoing government officials. Murphy claimed in the letter that she had acted on her own, and that Trump had never influenced her decision; President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that he’d given her the go-ahead.

National Security Experts Speak Out: More than 100 former senior national security officials who served in Republican administrations — including VPP Advisory Board members Greg Brower, Governor Tom Ridge, and Ken Wainsteinsent a letter calling President Trump’s refusal to concede “a serious threat to America’s democratic process and to our national security.” The officials asked Republican leaders to publicly demand that Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the election. Read the letter here.

State Updates

Arizona: Arizona’s Mohave County certified its election results, the last Arizona county to do so. This now sets the stage for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to formalize President-elect Biden’s historic win in the state on Monday, 11/30.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania’s highest court declined to invalidate thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots with minor errors, striking another blow to the Trump campaign’s attempt to contest election results in the battleground state. See the legal corner below for more details.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s partial recount continued in Dane and Milwaukee Counties on Monday with little change to the overall vote count. Figures provided by the two counties to the Wisconsin Elections Commission show that President Donald Trump so far has netted an additional 41 votes in the two counties out of the roughly 800,000 total votes cast there. Joe Biden carried Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. Read more here.

Legal Corner

It’s not over, but the courtroom fight is starting to feel like a mop-up operation as the last remaining cases challenging President-elect Biden’s win are put to bed. Key developments today included:

More Ballots Can Be Counted In Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ruling in six consolidated cases, allowed Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to count more than 10,000 disputed mail-in ballots. The ballots were all timely received, none was the subject of a fraud allegation, and each could be properly identified and authenticated. But the Trump campaign sought to discard the ballots because they suffered from one of a handful of technical imperfections – the absence of a handwritten name, address, or date on an outer envelope. The state Supreme Court held that nothing in state law barred counting 8,329 such ballots in Philadelphia or 2,349 ballots in Allegheny County, especially in light of the principle that “[e]lection laws will be strictly enforced to prevent fraud, but ordinarily will be construed liberally in favor of the right to vote. All statutes tending to limit the citizen in his exercise of the right of suffrage should be liberally construed in his favor.” The ballots  will likely increase Joe Biden’s existing statewide lead of more than 81,000 votes.

The Board Is Clear in Michigan: The Michigan Supreme Court today refused to hear Trump supporters’ appeal in the last remaining post-Election Day case challenging Joe Biden’s commanding 155,000 vote win in the state. The plaintiffs, who claimed vaguely-articulated voting irregularities, sued seeking to block certification of the election results pending an investigation and audit. But they lost in the lower courts, and the state Supreme Court turned them down on the same day that Michigan certified its results for Biden. The case was Costantino v. City of Detroit, No. 162245 (Michigan Supreme Court).

Messaging Guidance on MI Certification of Results

  • We commend the Michigan State Board of Canvassers for doing their constitutional duty today. We also want to thank the state and local officials across Michigan who made sure this year’s election was free, fair, and accurate, and the voters who turned out in record numbers.
  • Michigan voters chose Joe Biden as their next president, and today’s certification gets us closer to the peaceful transition our country needs at this challenging time.
  • There is much that divides us in this country, but as today’s certification so clearly demonstrates, what unites all of us is a shared commitment to our democracy.
  • It’s time to move forward, together.

Key Vote Counting Deadlines in Battleground States

As a rule, a state’s election results are complete after all counties finish their counts and state-level officials formally certify the statewide results. The official counting process is sometimes called a “canvass,” and the official who is responsible for finalizing the results varies by state. States will try to complete their counts this year before December 8, with electors set to meet and vote for president on December 14.


  • 11/30: The Secretary of State is scheduled to canvass returns and complete the statewide count


  • 11/24: The State Supreme Court is scheduled to meet with the Secretary of State to canvass the vote and finalize the formal results


  • 11/23: Today was the last day for county boards of elections to complete their counts; four counties are not yet done
  • Pennsylvania has no deadline for certifying the statewide count


  • 12/1: Last day for chairperson of Wisconsin Elections Commission to certify results

Social Media

Follow the Voter Protection Program onTwitter to stay updated on the latest voter protection news. Check out our new ad in Michigan and give it a retweet!