Michigan State Police on Monday refused to allow self-described Republican electors to enter the state’s Capitol Building, claiming that "all 16 electors" are already inside.
The confrontation and the fallout were captured on video by photojournalist Brendan Gutenschwager.
"Per the governor’s office, per the Speaker of the House, per the Speaker of the Senate, the Capitol is closed unless you have an office here to conduct business today or you are taking part in the Electoral College process," an officer told the GOP members, adding that anybody else is not permitted inside.
An individual in the group retorted: "We’re electors!" Others echoed the cry. "The electors are already here," the officer replied. "They’ve been checked in." To which, the group pressed: "Not all of them. Not all of the electors are inside."
The officer then announced that the Capitol is closed. He further alleged that "all 16 electors" are already in the building, reiterating his initial check-in claim. "But the GOP electors!" a man protested.
Later on, lawyer Ian Northon appeared in an attempt to lead the GOP electors into the Capitol. "I've got elected officials and electors to deliver this to the Senate today at 2:00 p.m.," the man told the same officer.
"Okay, I can ask the Senate Majority Leader," the officer answered. Then Northon named Sen. Mike Shirkey and asked the officer to deliver the yellow manilla envelope in-hand to him. "You can contact his office directly. We'll make arrangements to drop it off," the officer instructed Northon.
The attorney pointed out that Shirkey's office is located within the Capitol Building. The officer then claimed that the senator was not present at the time. "So you're telling me that the Senate chamber is in session, but the Senate [Majority] Leader is not here?" Northon questioned.
"You'd have to contact his office to make arrangements," the officer echoed. "The electors by statute—MCL 168.47—have to be in the Senate chamber today. It's past 2:00 p.m. They're trying," Northon continued.
The officer denied the request again. The interaction ended and Northon led the crowd away from the doors.
In an impromptu presser in the vicinity of the intense scene, Northon asserted that "under the US Constitution, the electors have a duty to vote for their chosen candidate."
Northon contended that the paperwork is signed and sealed, ready for the cited 2:00 p.m. delivery deadline. "They’re being stopped from fulfilling their constitutional duty," he charged.
"Now I would call upon the Michigan legislature and the people's House—this is the legislature building and the people's House—to finish their investigation so that we know which set of electors should ultimately be chosen before a rash decision is made, especially while that investigation is ongoing," Northon concluded.
The Post Millennial's Ian Miles Cheong commented: "Folks, you need to call Lansing police and demand they let the Republican electors in. The Democrats can't be allowed to get in the way of the constitutional process."
Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada also have dueling electoral votes as GOP members cast their votes for President Donald Trump amid legal challenges.
According to an explainer piece published by Reuters, it is theoretically possible for the governor and legislature—each representing a different political party—to submit two different election results, leading to these so-called "dueling slates of electors."
States with close contests between Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden could yield competing slates of electors, one certified by the governor and the other by the legislature.
The proclivity of this occurring is heightened in the battleground states of Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which have Democratic governors and Republican-controlled legislatures.
Both sets of electors were set to meet and vote on Dec. 14 with the competing results sent off to Congress.
Both chambers of Congress could accept the same slate of electors, but split chambers are likely if the Republicans retain control of the Senate and the Democrats maintain their House majority.
If lawmakers disagree, the Supreme Court may be called upon to interpret the Electoral College Act.
In 1876, dueling electors in three contesting states were deadlocked until a deal was brokered days before Inauguration Day.
The dispute was resolved after Republican nominee Rutherford B. Hayes was awarded the White House over Democratic rival Samuel when the latter party conceded the election in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.