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.