Person

Aaron Van Langevelde

Aaron Van Langevelde is a Republican lawyer in Michigan. Van Langevelde is most notable for his role as a canvasser with the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, on which he was the only Republican member to certify President Joe Biden’s win in the state in the 2020 presidential election.

Before the 2020 Election

Aaron Van Langevelde was born in 1980. After graduating from law school, he went to work as a law clerk in the Michigan 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Kalamazoo for Circuit Judge Pamela L. Lightvoet from 2010 to 2011. [1] After working as a clerk, he went to work as an assistant prosecutor in Isabella County, where he remained until going into private practice with a medical malpractice firm. [2]

After a very brief stint in private practice, Van Langevelde became third assistant prosecutor in Branch County in 2013, commuting to work 50 miles a day from his home for two years. [3] In April 2015, he became a staff attorney and policy adviser to the Republican leadership in the Michigan state House of Representatives. He was also appointed as one of the Republican representatives on the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. [4]

2020 Presidential Election

In November 2020, then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan, but President Trump and the Trump campaign did not accept the election results in the state. [5]

The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the Michigan Republican Party pressured Republican legislators and election officials to refuse to certify the election results. They appeared to act on a belief that if the election results were not certified in the state, the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature could appoint pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College. [6]

Before the meeting of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers, activists from We The People Michigan flooded the meeting livestream and Twitter with the hashtag #alleyesonmi. Art Reyes III, leader of We The People Michigan, also sent activists to testify at the meeting in support of certifying the results. Normally, a Board of State Canvassers meeting has almost no public attendance, but the meeting to certify the election results had an attendance of thousands. [7]

After the testimony, the board members voted 3-0 to certify the state’s results, with one Republican member abstained. Van Langevelde was the lone Republican to certify the state’s results. [8] Van Langevelde explained the vote by claiming that failing to certify the results would “attempt to exercise power we simply don’t have” and arguing that the “board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election.” [9]

After Michigan certified the election results, the General Services Administration officially began the presidential transition process. [10]

After the 2020 Election

After Van Langevelde voted to certify the results of the election, he faced several threats and received calls from some in the Michigan Republican Party, threatening Van Langevelde with the loss of his jobs with the board of canvassers and the Michigan legislature. [11] Incoming Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) retained Van Langevelde on the staff in the next session. [12]

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) replaced Van Langevelde with Republican nominee Tony Daunt on the board of canvassers. Daunt, who also worked as executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, praised Van Langevelde and his decision to certify the election results. [13]

References

  1.   Reid, Don. 2020. “Former Branch Prosecutor Casts Key Michigan Canvassing Vote”. The Daily Reporter. https://www.thedailyreporter.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/27/former-branch-prosecutor-casts-key-michigan-canvassing-vote/43199865/. ^
  2.        Reid, Don. 2020. “Former Branch Prosecutor Casts Key Michigan Canvassing Vote”. The Daily Reporter. https://www.thedailyreporter.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/27/former-branch-prosecutor-casts-key-michigan-canvassing-vote/43199865/. ^
  3. Reid, Don. 2020. “Former Branch Prosecutor Casts Key Michigan Canvassing Vote”. The Daily Reporter. https://www.thedailyreporter.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/27/former-branch-prosecutor-casts-key-michigan-canvassing-vote/43199865/. ^
  4. Reid, Don. 2020. “Former Branch Prosecutor Casts Key Michigan Canvassing Vote”. The Daily Reporter. https://www.thedailyreporter.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/27/former-branch-prosecutor-casts-key-michigan-canvassing-vote/43199865/. ^
  5. Reid, Don. 2020. “Former Branch Prosecutor Casts Key Michigan Canvassing Vote”. The Daily Reporter. https://www.thedailyreporter.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/27/former-branch-prosecutor-casts-key-michigan-canvassing-vote/43199865/. ^
  6. Ball, Molly. 2021. “The Secret History Of The Shadow Campaign That Saved The 2020 Election”. Time. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/. ^
  7. Ball, Molly. 2021. “The Secret History Of The Shadow Campaign That Saved The 2020 Election”. Time. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/. ^
  8. Ball, Molly. 2021. “The Secret History Of The Shadow Campaign That Saved The 2020 Election”. Time. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/. ^
  9. Alberta, Tim. 2020. “The Michigan Republican Who Stopped Trump”. POLITICO. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-nightly/2020/11/24/the-michigan-republican-who-stopped-trump-490984. ^
  10.       Alberta, Tim. 2020. “The Michigan Republican Who Stopped Trump”. POLITICO. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-nightly/2020/11/24/the-michigan-republican-who-stopped-trump-490984. ^
  11. LeBlanc, Beth, and Melissa Nann Burke. 2020. “House GOP: Canvasser A ‘Valued Member,’ Keeps Job Into Next Session”. The Detroit News. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2020/11/24/house-gop-canvasser-van-langevelde-valued-member-keeps-job-into-next-session/6410568002/. ^
  12. LeBlanc, Beth, and Melissa Nann Burke. 2020. “House GOP: Canvasser A ‘Valued Member,’ Keeps Job Into Next Session”. The Detroit News. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2020/11/24/house-gop-canvasser-van-langevelde-valued-member-keeps-job-into-next-session/6410568002/. ^
  13. Dodge, Samuel. 2021. “Gov. Whitmer Replaces GOP Canvasser Who Certified Election With Conservative Activist”. Mlive. https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2021/01/gov-whitmer-replaces-gop-canvasser-who-certified-election-with-conservative-activist.html?outputType=amp. ^
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