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William Hartmann, 63, Michigan official who challenged the election, has died

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William Hartmann, one of two Michigan Republican electoral officials who initially refused to confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election in Wayne County where Joe Biden beat up Donald J. Trump, died on November 30 in a Wyandotte, Michigan hospital. , near Detroit. He was 63.

About two weeks before Mr Hartmann’s death, confirmed by the Michigan Republican Party, his sister Elizabeth Hartmann wrote on Facebook that he was “in intensive care with Covid pneumonia and currently on a ventilator”. Mr. Hartmann had spoken out against anti-Covid vaccines.

He attracted national attention after he and another Republican member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, Monica Palmer, refused to confirm the election results. Mr Biden won the district, which also includes the city of Detroit, with 68 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for Mr Trump.

The two election officials pointed out minor deviations in the inclusion of a few hundred votes, but these had no influence on the result: Mr Biden won the district with more than 330,000 votes. But their refusal to confirm the results left the Wayne County’s board of directors, which consists of two Republicans and two Democrats, stranded. It also threatened to hold back the confirmation of the entire vote in Michigan.

Their action, wrote the New York Times, was “an amazingly partisan move that could potentially have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters from a predominantly black city.”

It also added to the chaos and confusion that spread across the country as Mr Trump became increasingly adamant by falsely claiming that he actually won the elections.

The stance of the two officials prompted hundreds of outraged Michigan voters and civil rights activists to immediately place a Zoom call on the two of them for attempting to undermine the election. A few hours later, Mr. Hartmann and Mrs. Palmer certified the results and approved the official balance sheets.

But that resulted in Mr Trump calling them personally, The Associated Press reported, and shortly afterwards officials tried to withdraw their votes in confirmation of the results, saying they had been bullied about it. They were unable to reverse their votes, however, and the Board of State Canvassers upheld Michigan statewide results. Mr Biden won the state’s 16 electoral votes with 50.6 percent of the vote versus Mr Trump with 47.8 percent.

Mr. Hartmann was born on August 30, 1958, but little other information about his background is publicly available and attempts to reach his family have been unsuccessful.

On his Facebook page, he indicated a long involvement with the Republican Party. He listed his alias as “Taxed Enough Already” and called himself an “international man of mystery”.

Mr. Hartmann describes himself as the owner of the All In One Campaign, an association of consultants who advise candidates on election strategy; the Chief Executive and Technical Engineer at Synergy Services, which describes itself as a consulting firm “with a focus on federal and state contracts and political advice”; and the owner and director of Custom Renovation, a building renovation company, in Wyandotte.

As The Times reported during the campaign, Mr. Hartmann had filled his Facebook page with false allegations and conspiracy theories that the 2020 results had been rigged against Mr. Trump. He said he was harassed after the November 17th episode, that police officers had to take him out of his home and that he did not show up for a week.

“I was afraid that someone would recognize me if I was on the road and want to beat me up,” he told the far-right news organization The Epoch Times last December. He has been followed by the news media and received more than 1,500 hate emails.

His sister started posting updates on his health on Facebook last month after contracting Covid. But she said she stopped when the news inadvertently drew her family’s attention.

“Bill is fighting for his life and why someone would want to use this time for their political vomit is disgusting and sad,” she wrote. “My brother is a kind, generous, honest, excellent man.”

Online tributes called him a patriot and a true conservative.

Mr Hartmann made it clear on his own social media accounts that he did not believe in Covid vaccines. He suggested that vaccination records containing proof of vaccination came from Nazi Germany.

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