Michigan State Capitol building, Lansing. Photo courtesy Brian Charles Watson/Wikipedia.Michigan State Capitol building, Lansing. Photo courtesy Brian Charles Watson/Wikipedia.

Biden victory certified in Michigan

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is a step closer to securing his election victory.

In a process that had the attention of the nation, the bipartisan Michigan State Board of Canvassers voted Monday in favour of certifying the state's election totals for this year's presidential election, giving the Wolverine State's 16 electoral votes to Biden.

The 3-0 decision, with one Republican member abstaining, paves the way for the Michigan Legislature to begin the process of choosing Democratic electors to officially cast the state's electoral votes for the former vice-president, who defeated incumbent Republican Donald Trump.

Biden won Michigan by over 154,000 votes, according to an ABC News tally of presidential election returns.

The certification was the latest legal blow for Trump, whose campaign had filed dozens of lawsuits in battleground states all over the country, including Michigan, claiming widespread impropriety and voter fraud. None of these charges have been substantiated and most of the lawsuits have been dismissed.

The Trump campaign had sued in Michigan, contending that Republican poll watchers were not given proper access to the ballot counts, then claiming major discrepancies in the vote count in Wayne County, which includes heavily-Democratic Detroit.

The Wayne County canvassing board was briefly deadlocked last week in certifying the county's totals, with the two Republican members wanting a full audit of the returns. After strong public criticism, the Republican members voted to certify. They then acknowledged receiving a personal phone call from the president and wanted to change their votes back, but Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said that was not legally permissible.

Also on Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected five lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign, seeking to invalidate thousands of absentee ballots, most of them from Philadelphia, another Democratic stronghold.

However, Trump, while still refusing to concede, authorized the General Services Administration to begin the formal process of transition, thus recognizing Biden's victory. The decision allows Biden's transition team access to millions of dollars needed to hire staff, obtain top-secret security clearances, and so forth.

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