Michigan's state legislative offices closed on Monday over 'credible threats of violence'
- Michigan's state legislative offices were closed on Monday over "credible threats of violence" as the state's 16 electors were set to gather in the capitol building to cast their electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
- The Michigan State Capitol was scheduled to be closed to the public on Monday anyway due to COVID-19, but legislators were told to work from home as an added precaution.
- On Sunday night, a legislative spokeswoman told The Washington Post that the decision "was not made because of anticipated protests, but was made based on credible threats of violence."
- State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a Monday statement that "Michigan's Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free of threats of violence or intimidation."
- A Republican state lawmaker, Rep. Gary Eisen, was stripped of his committee assignments after saying that he couldn't guarantee that Electoral College protests would be peaceful.
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Michigan's state legislative offices in the capital city of Lansing are closed on Monday amid "credible threats of violence" as the state's electors get ready to meet and cast their votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The state capitol building was already set to be closed to the public on Monday already due to COVID-19, but legislators were also told to work from home as an additional safety measure, the Detroit News reported. Michigan's slate of 16 Democratic presidential electors are set to meet at the state capitol building at 2 p.m. local time
It wasn't immediately clear what the precise nature of the threats were. However, Amber McCann, a spokesperson for Michigan's State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, told The Washington Post that the decision "was not made because of anticipated protests, but was made based on credible threats of violence" in consultation with law enforcement.
In a Monday statement, Shirkey said that "Michigan's Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free of threats of violence or intimidation."
The Michigan State Capitol has been the site of multiple protests and demonstrations throughout 2020, including over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's coronavirus-related restrictions and the results of the presidential race, which Biden won by over 150,000 votes.
A Republican state lawmaker, Rep. Gary Eisen, was also stripped of his committee assignments after he said in a Monday radio interview with WPHM that he couldn't guarantee the absence of violence at protests surrounding the Electoral College vote.
Asked if he could "assure" that it would be "a safe day in Lansing," Eisen replied, "No," according to the Detroit Free Press and ClickOnDetroit.
"I don't know because what we're doing today is uncharted. It hasn't been done. And it's not me doing it. It's the Michigan Republican Party. I'm just here to witness … Showing that I support what they're doing," he said of the protests.
A spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party told the Free Press that he didn't know what Eisen was talking about.
"We have been consistent in our position on issues of violence and intimidation in politics – it is never appropriate and never acceptable," Rep. Lee Chatfield, the speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, said in a Monday statement.
"We as elected officials must be clear that violence has no place in our democratic process. We must be held to a higher standard. Because of that, Rep. Eisen has been removed from his committee assignments for the rest of the term," they said.
Electors in Arizona and Michigan received additional police protection
In the six weeks following the November 3 election, President Donald Trump and his allies have embarked on an unprecedented campaign to undermine and subvert the 2020 election results, filing dozens of lawsuits seeking to stop vote counting or overturn election results, and aggressively spreading misinformation about the integrity and security of the election.
The Trump campaign and allied groups brought multiple failed lawsuits in Michigan aiming at various points to halt vote-counting, get ballots thrown out, or delay certification. After all were rejected by the courts, Michigan's State Board of Canvassers certified the election results on November 23.
Read more: The race for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination is just getting started. Here's Insider's rankings of the top 14 likely candidates, from Trump to Pence to Haley and Hogan.
States around the country were forced to introduce additional safety and security measures to protect electors from the COVID-19 pandemic and also from the threat of potential violence and protests.
Electors who met in person wore masks and socially distanced, and in some places like New York, were even tested for COVID-19 before convening in the state capitol to cast their votes. Nevada's electors made history on Monday by casting their votes virtually over Zoom.
The super-charged partisan tensions over the election results have led to electors saying they're facing intimidation and threats. Arizona's and Michigan's electors will receive additional police protection and security while casting their votes.
Still, serving as a presidential elector is often the honor of a lifetime for dedicated party activists and local elected officials, and several electors told Insider that they aren't deterred from participating in such a storied civic process — no matter the tension surrounding it.
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