DETROIT — Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit on Wednesday accused President Trump’s allies in Michigan’s most populous county of racism after they initially refused to certify the election results over slight discrepancies in majority-Black precincts — while ignoring similar problems in heavily white areas.
The complaint echoed accusations against Mr. Trump and his allies around the country, charging Republicans with preying on ugly racist stereotypes to cast doubt on Black voters in their last-ditch effort to overturn a legitimate election that Mr. Trump lost decisively.
Republican election board members in Wayne County, which contains Detroit and its inner suburbs, refused to certify the county’s election results in a nakedly partisan effort to hold up President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over Mr. Trump. Hours later, they reversed themselves after an outcry from state officials and Detroit residents who accused them of trying to steal their votes.
“You could see the racism in the behavior last night,” Mr. Duggan said at a news conference on Wednesday. “American democracy cracked last night, but it didn’t break. But we are seeing a real threat to everything we believe in.”
The Rev. Wendell Anthony, the head of Detroit’s N.A.A.C.P. chapter, said the Trump campaign’s attempts to discredit the election in cities with large Black populations like Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta fit a racist pattern of stoking divisions and undermining democratic institutions.
“We are not going to let them steal the election right before our eyes,” said Mr. Anthony, who helped quickly organize a protest on Tuesday night to push the Republican board members to reverse their votes.
The two Republican members of the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, which voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden, are white. The Republicans, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, said they were voting against certifying the results because precincts in the county had conflicting figures for the numbers of votes cast and the number of voters recorded as having participated, even though the disparities mostly involved small numbers of votes.
At one point, Ms. Palmer moved to “certify the results in the communities other than the city of Detroit.
The board’s initial 2-2 deadlock was among the starkest examples of how previously routine aspects of the nation’s voting system have been tainted by Mr. Trump’s monthslong effort to undermine confidence in the election.
Mr. Biden won nearly 95 percent of the vote in Detroit, which is more than three-quarters Black. The rest of Wayne County, which voted for Mr. Biden by a smaller margin, is more than three-quarters white.