As chairman of Michigan’s 8th Congressional District Republican Committee, Norm Shinkle actively worked to re-elect President Donald Trump.
Now, he’s poised to play a key role in deciding whether to certify Michigan election results that Trump is publicly disputing and fighting in court.
Shinkle is a member of the Board of State Canvassers, a constitutionally created body that is intentionally partisan. The panel, appointed by the governor, is composed of two Democrats and two Republicans who cannot certify election results without bipartisan consensus in the form of at least a 3-1 majority vote.
In the case of a 2-2 tie, legal experts say state courts would likely order the board to certify the Michigan election. In the unlikely event that doesn’t happen, Democrats fear the Republican-led Legislature could be put in position to decide how the state awards its 16 presidential electors.
As they prepare for what they expect to be a certification vote this month, canvassers told Bridge they are tracking the legal drama unfolding in Michigan, where Trump has claimed victory despite unofficial results that show he lost to Democrat Joe Biden by nearly 150,000 votes.
“I make no predictions on this,” said Shinkle, a former state senator who lives in Ingham County.
“If you just go ahead and certify everything that comes in front of you, what prevents people from cheating? There’s got to be a penalty if there is cheating going on.”
His wife, Mary Shinkle, is a witness in Trump’s federal lawsuit as one of more than 100 GOP poll challengers who filed affidavits about their experience at the TCF Center in Detroit, where absentee votes were counted.
“She saw a lot of strange things going on,” Shinkle told Bridge, pledging to keep an open mind about the statewide election overseen by local officials in 1,600 jurisdictions.