Fact Check: Wayne County, Michigan, Board Of Canvassers Did NOT 'Refuse' To Certify The Results Of The Presidential Election -- First They Deadlocked, Then They Certified The Votes

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Wayne County, Michigan, Board Of Canvassers Did NOT 'Refuse' To Certify The Results Of The Presidential Election -- First They Deadlocked, Then They Certified The Votes Deadlock Over

Did the Wayne County, Michigan, Board of Canvassers "refuse" to certify the presidential election results? No, that's not true: First, the board of four deadlocked in a 2-2 tie over certifying the votes. Then a couple hours later, the board unanimously agreed to certify the results. The delay in certifying the votes was only temporary.

The claim appeared in a tweet (archived here) published by Jenna Ellis, a Trump campaign lawyer, on November 17, 2020. It read:

"BREAKING: This evening, the county board of canvassers in Wayne County, MI refused to certify the election results. If the state board follows suit, the Republican state legislator will select the electors. Huge win for @realDonaldTrump"

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Nov 18 17:04:21 2020 UTC)

This tweet was posted in the interim between the deadlock and the eventual agreement, so when it was posted, it was factual.

After the first vote was tied along party lines, testimony poured in from Wayne County residents and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stating that the results should be certified.

Wayne County is an important county in Michigan because it is the most populous county in the swing state, with Detroit as its county seat, and it has the highest population of Black voters in the state by a large margin.

President Trump tweeted a similar statement to Ellis', only he tweeted it three minutes after the board's second vote unanimously approving certification:

Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan secretary of state, pointed out that the deadlock was not an indication that any votes were miscounted:


  • 2020-11-18T19:42:26Z 2020-11-18T19:42:26Z
    Updated to fix a broken link to Gov. Whitmer's statement.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion