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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Addresses Security Threat To Electoral College Vote

In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 5. The governor said she sent a letter to Republican lawmakers this week asking them to pass a bill to require residents wear masks in indoor places and crowded outdoor areas.
In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 5. The governor said she sent a letter to Republican lawmakers this week asking them to pass a bill to require residents wear masks in indoor places and crowded outdoor areas.

As members of the Electoral College convene in their respective states around the country to vote for president, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her state's electors will cast their votes within a closed capitol building, citing a "security issue."

"We know that today's an important day," Whitmer told NPR'sMorning Edition. "We've always been mindful that it's going to be necessary to make sure everyone is safe."

Over the weekend, state law enforcement advised lawmakers to close the Michigan State Capitol and legislative buildings in Lansing due to "credible threats of violence," a spokesperson for state Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey told the Detroit Free Press.

In the spring, Michigan was the site of several protests where armed demonstrators pushed back against the governor's lockdown measures implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Firearms are currently permitted in the Michigan State Capitol, but some Democrats are working to change these rules.

The state also saw unrest following President-elect Joe Biden's defeat of President Trump, including recent threats towards the Michigan secretary of state.

Tensions remain high among state lawmakers, leading up to the state electoral vote. On Monday morning, Republican state Rep. Gary Eisen was removed from his committee assignments after saying an interview with a local radio station that there was "going to be violence" caused by the vote.

Last week Democratic state Rep. Cynthia Johnson was also removed from her committee assignments after posting a Facebook video that is being interpreted by Republican lawmakers as a possible threat to Trump supporters.

Speaking about the vote, Whitmer remained focused on the upcoming transfer of power. "We are going to pursue this, we will see it through, and we will cast our votes for Joe Biden," she said.

Michigan holds a total of 16 electoral votes that will go to Biden. After this step in the presidential process occurs, the total electoral vote count will head to Congress to be formally recognized on Jan. 6, 2021.

"It will be official today," Whitmer said. "It's a very exciting moment after a very tumultuous year."

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