Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press
Published 8:08 a.m. ET Dec. 14, 2020 | Updated 8:10 a.m. ET Dec. 14, 2020
President Trump and President George W. Bush won the electoral vote during the election, but not the popular vote. How does the electoral college work?
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State House and Senate office buildings will all be closed Monday during the meeting of the Electoral College due to security concerns, an official said Monday.
The Capitol will also be closed to the public, as was announced earlier.
Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said the Senate closed its facilities for Monday “based on recommendations from law enforcement.”
“The decision was not made because of anticipated protests, but based on credible threats of violence,” McCann said late Sunday.
Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, would not specify the potential threat.
“I can’t get into the nature of the concern,” D’Assandro said. “Have to refer you to the MSP (Michigan State Police) on that.”
But Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said the MSP did not make the decision to close the office buildings. She referred a reporter back to the Legislature.
Lt. Darren Green of the MSP told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, the agency is monitoring social media and other communications. He said the MSP would not comment on threats if they knew about any, but did not make a recommendation to close legislative office buildings, or the Capitol.
There have been unconfirmed reports of threats against Michigan delegates to the Electoral College, who are expected to cast their votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden at 2 p.m. Monday, from the Senate chamber.
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State Rep. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, said on Twitter the closure was “because credible threats have been made as Michigan’s electors to the Electoral College will meet at the Capitol.”
All House offices have been closed tomorow because credible threats have been made as Michigan’s electors to the Electoral College will meet at the Capitol. My office will monitor voicemail and are available to assist you by email at KevinHertel@House.MI.Gov
— Kevin Hertel (@RepHertel) December 13, 2020
Officials announced late last week that the Capitol would be closed to the public during the Electoral College proceedings. D’Assandro said Sunday legislative staff will also be told to stay home.
D’Assandro said it is correct that the MSP did not make the call about closing offices. “House and Senate leadership conferred with them and then made the call with their respective business offices to ensure everyone’s safety,” he said.
House Minority Leader-elect Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, blamed the threats on “shameful actions by certain Republicans to smear our democratic institutions and deny the clear will of the voters,” which she said has created a “dangerous, hostile atmosphere.”
She called on 15 state Republican lawmakers who supported the recent lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, seeking to overturn Michigan’s election results, to “apologize, renounce their actions and respect the will of the voters.”
Paxton’s case was rejected Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Due to safety concerns for tomorrow’s Electoral College vote, the entire Legislature is closed and will be working remotely,” state Rep. Darrin Camilleri, D- Brownstown Township, said on Twitter.
“I’m thankful for the courage of our electors who will be exercising their democratic duty and selecting our next president.”
State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia, tweeted: “Another day, another alert that the Capitol is being shut down out of concern for everyone’s safety.”
She added: “I’m proud of our electors and hope they can complete their duty tomorrow safely and with as little controversy as possible.”
Staff writer Dave Boucher contributed to this report.
Follow Paul Egan on Twitter @paulegan4.
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