Anti-vax Republican who refused to certify Detroit's election died of COVID-19

By

comment
William Hartman, then-Vice Chairman of the Wayne Board of Canvassers, died after getting COVID-19. - WAYNE COUNTY BOARD OF CANVASSERS
  • Wayne County Board of Canvassers
  • William Hartman, then-Vice Chairman of the Wayne Board of Canvassers, died after getting COVID-19.

A Michigan Republican who made national headlines for refusing to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election — and was a vocal anti-vaxxer who downplayed COVID-19 — died after getting the virus.

William Hartmann, the former Vice Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, died on Tuesday, according to a Facebook post from friend Douglas Reimel. He was 63.

Hartmann had been hospitalized on a ventilator since around Nov. 6, Metro Times previously reported.

Hartmann and fellow Republican Wayne County Board of Canvassers member Monica Palmer initially voted against certifying the 2020 election results — an extraordinary move that generated national headlines, and fear of a breakdown of the democratic process. Hartmann and Palmer said they refused to certify the results because of small discrepancies between the number of votes cast and the number of votes counted, with Palmer suggesting certifying the elections of "communities other than the city of Detroit." Critics blasted the move as racist.

Following a tumultuous meeting where hundreds of Michigan residents expressed their outrage, Hartmann and Palmer eventually agreed to certify the results on the condition of a resolution to support an audit.

But after then-President Donald Trump personally called Hartmann and Palmer, the two attempted to rescind their votes, to no avail. The audit later revealed Trump lost Wayne County by more than 330,000 votes, anyway.

On Facebook, Hartmann was an avid Trump supporter and anti-vaxxer, downplaying the severity of the pandemic and the effectiveness of vaccines.

"If the ouchie is so great, why do they have to offer bribes?" he wrote in one post.

Hartmann's death comes as COVID-19 is surging in Michigan, which has led the nation in cases since November, with hospitals stretched to capacity. Michigan's surge is being largely driven by unvaccinated people, experts say.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccines is available at vaccines.gov.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.