Violent Threats Force Michigan to Do Its Electoral College Vote Behind Closed Doors

The "Stop the Steal" movement is calling for a protest at the Capitol as Michigan electors prepare to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win.
December 15, 2020, 3:49pm
Governor Gretchen Whitmer is escorted to the entrance of the Michigan State Capitol on December 14, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. Michigan electors will meet this afternoon to certify the electoral college vote.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer is escorted to the entrance of the Michigan State Capitol on December 14, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. Michigan electors will meet this afternoon to certify the electoral college vote. (Photo by Elaine Cromie/Getty Images)

The Michigan Legislature closed all of its buildings in Lansing Monday due to “credible threats of violence,” as Michigan electors prepare to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory during Monday’s nationwide meetings of the Electoral College.

Lansing was the site of intense right-wing anti-government protests earlier this year, mostly targeted at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over COVID-19 restrictions. Now, members of the “Stop the Steal” movement to overturn the results of the election have made calls on social media for a Monday protest at the state Capitol, after a weekend when four people were stabbed and 33 people were arrested at similar right-wing pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C. 

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“Calling all patriots to the Lansing Capitol steps on Monday 10-4pm,” a Stop the Steal Michigan Facebook page posted Saturday. “Biden MI Electors is wrong! Fraud result is illegitimate.”  

Biden won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes by a margin of more than 150,000 en route to his presidential election victory. But President Donald Trump and his supporters have continued to falsely claim, without evidence, that election fraud across Michigan and several other states was responsible for his loss, and that Trump actually won if only so-called ”legal votes” were counted. All of this is a lie.

The Legislature announced last week that the State Capitol building where the electors will vote would be closed to the public during the Electoral College proceedings. A spokesperson for GOP state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said the decision “was not made because of anticipated protests, but was made based on credible threats of violence,” according to the Washington Post. Michigan is an open-carry state where conservative protesters often show up with guns. 

Michigan isn’t the only state taking precautions. Security at Arizona’s State Capitol Executive Tower building has been increased, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Public Safety told the Washington Post. Gov. Doug Ducey, whose offices are in the building, recently came under attack from Trump and his supporters after backing the certification of Biden’s narrow win in Arizona

“These are two RINO Republicans who fought against me and the Republican Party harder than any Democrat,” Trump attacked Ducey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in a Saturday Twitter rant. “They allowed states that I won easily to be stolen. Never forget, vote them out of office!”

The 16 Michigan electors, all chosen by the Democratic Party to confirm Biden’s win, will be escorted by armed law enforcement as they walk from their cars to the Capitol building, the New York Times reported Friday. The electors in Michigan are set to meet at 2 p.m.

“I’ve been rallying at the Capitol for many years and the only time I felt uncomfortable is when there were people milling around with guns,” 84-year-old elector Bobbie Walton told the New York Times. “I might have to wear one of my favorite T-shirts: ‘Don’t push, I’m old.’”