Michigan: Suit asks Supreme Court to take custody of all election materials for investigation | Beth LeBlanc/The Detroit News

A conservative legal group has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to take custody of all Nov. 3 election materials to give the Michigan Legislature time to audit the results, investigate all claims of ballot irregularities and fraud, and “finish its constitutionally-mandated work to pick Michigan’s electors.” The lawsuit filed Thursday seeking the collection of ballots, pollbooks and ballot boxes also asks the court to stop the Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the Board of State Canvassers from giving final certification to the state’s election results until a special master can be appointed to review alleged ballot irregularities and the legality of absentee ballots in Wayne County. It’s not likely the relief sought is possible given that state canvassers gave final certification Monday, though a lawyer for the Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project says he sent a letter to the canvassing board warning it not to certify.  The list of electors aligning with President-elect Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote win in Michigan was sent by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the U.S. Secretary of State that same day. Likewise, the Michigan Legislature already is holding hearings to review complaints related to the Nov. 3 election and Benson has said she will audit results statewide and in Wayne County specifically.

Full Article: Suit asks Michigan’s high court to take custody of all ballots

 

The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Fraud Scandal | Tim Alberta/Politico

After five years spent bullying the Republican Party into submission, President Donald Trump finally met his match in Aaron Van Langevelde. Who? That’s right. In the end, it wasn’t a senator or a judge or a general who stood up to the leader of the free world. There was no dramatic, made-for-Hollywood collision of cosmic egos. Rather, the death knell of Trump’s presidency was sounded by a baby-faced lawyer, looking over his glasses on a grainy Zoom feed on a gloomy Monday afternoon, reading from a statement that reflected a courage and moral clarity that has gone AWOL from his party, pleading with the tens of thousands of people watching online to understand that some lines can never be uncrossed. “We must not attempt to exercise power we simply don’t have,” declared Van Langevelde, a member of Michigan’s board of state canvassers, the ministerial body with sole authority to make official Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. “As John Adams once said, ‘We are a government of laws, not men.’ This board needs to adhere to that principle here today. This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election.” Van Langevelde is a Republican. He works for Republicans in the Statehouse. He gives legal guidance to advance Republican causes and win Republican campaigns. As a Republican, his mandate for Monday’s hearing—handed down from the state party chair, the national party chair and the president himself—was straightforward. They wanted Michigan’s board of canvassers to delay certification of Biden’s victory. Never mind that Trump lost by more than 154,000 votes, or that results were already certified in all 83 counties.

Full Article: The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Fraud Scandal – POLITICO

Michigan Attorney General Investigating Threats Made Against Wayne County Election Officials | Brakkton Booker/NPR

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed Tuesday that her office is “actively investigating” threats against members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. The announcement comes a day after state election officials voted to certify the election results, formally granting Michigan’s 16 electoral votes to President-elect Biden. President Trump has for weeks sought to overturn Biden’s victory there and in the election overall, without gaining traction. “We will investigate any credible complaints of threats to government officials, elected or appointed, and will prosecute criminal conduct to the fullest extent of the law,” Nessel said in a statement. “Serving the people – regardless of party – is an honorable but sometimes difficult and thankless task. And while many of us have been subjected to hateful and often obscene insults, threats of violence and harm will not be tolerated,” she added. Her office’s Criminal Investigations Division initiated its probe after the county’s Board of Canvassers meeting earlier this month. Nessel is asking that adding that anyone with a specific complaint about election fraud, threats against public officials or misinformation contact her office.

Full Article: Michigan AG Investigating Threats Made Against Wayne County Election Officials : Biden Transition Updates : NPR

Michigan: With the world watching, a Republican state canvasser helps make Biden’s win official | Lauren Gibbons/MLive

For a few hours Monday, tens of thousands of people were glued to their phones and computer screens watching an appointed board in Michigan make the state’s Nov. 3 election results official. Election certification by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers is typically viewed as a procedural step, a final check on results canvassed and certified by election officials in each of the state’s 83 counties. But in an election cycle where the sitting president has refused to concede the election and continues to push debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, every aspect of the post-election process has been unconventional. After hours of public comment, the board voted 3-0-1 to certify results that showed President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in Michigan, despite a concerted effort by the Michigan Republican Party, the John James campaign and other Trump supporters to delay certification. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, members of the board were in the same room, but public viewing was virtual. At one point, more than 35,000 people were watching on the Secretary of State’s Youtube page, and more than 500 people initially submitted requests to address the board. That’s a much larger audience than a state canvassers meeting typically gets. Although some issues under the board’s purview, such as considering whether a citizen-led policy initiative or the recall of a public official makes the ballot, get more attention, even the most crowded canvassers hearings prior to Monday’s meeting have attracted less than a few hundred people.

Full Article: With the world watching, a Republican state canvasser helps make Biden’s win in Michigan official – mlive.com

Michigan: Detroit had more vote errors in 2016 when Trump won the state by a narrow margin. He didn’t object then. | Kayla Ruble/The Washington Post

Republican Party leaders who urged Michigan’s state canvassing board to hold off certifying the Nov. 3 election results before it met Monday cited what they described as “significant problems and irregularities” in Wayne County, home of Detroit. The GOP officials pointed to the number of “unbalanced” precincts, where there were small discrepancies between the number of ballots cast and the number of voters logged by election workers in the poll books. Party officials unsuccessfully called on the board to conduct an audit before it certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state with a 3-to-1 vote. “To simply gloss over those irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan’s electorate,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and state GOP Chair Laura Cox wrote in a letter Saturday. But state and county election data shows that four years ago — when Donald Trump carried the state by a much narrower margin — twice as many Detroit precincts were out of balance. At the time, the problems were widely condemned by Democratic leaders, including Garlin Gilchrist, now the state’s lieutenant governor, who called the city’s handling of the election “a complete catastrophe.”

Full Article: Detroit had more vote errors in 2016 when Trump won Michigan by a narrow margin. He didn’t object then. – The Washington Post

Michigan Supreme Court rejects appeal, but 2 justices urge looking into election fraud claims | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

In what is likely a final blow to the effort to delay the certification of election results in Michigan, the Michigan Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal in a lawsuit filed against Detroit and Wayne County election officials. With all but Justice David Viviano agreeing, the court denied the request to stop the certification of Wayne County’s election results, writing in its order  “we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.” The Wayne County Board of Canvassers certified the county’s results Nov. 17. But in a concurring statement to the court’s order, Justice Brian Zahra, joined by Justice Stephen Markman, urged the Wayne County Circuit Court to move quickly and “meaningfully assess” the plaintiffs’ allegations of electoral fraud. “I am cognizant that many Americans believe that plaintiffs’ claims of electoral fraud and misconduct are frivolous and obstructive, but I am equally cognizant that many Americans are of the view that the 2020 election was not fully free and fair,” Zahra wrote. “Federal law imposes tight time restrictions on Michigan’s certification of our electors. Plaintiffs should not have to file appeals following our standard processes and procedures to obtain a final answer from this Court on such weighty issues.” The concurring statement called on the Wayne County Circuit Court to hold an evidentiary hearing to assess the credibility of the plaintiffs’ allegations of fraud based mostly on affidavits filed by Republican challengers present at TCF Center.

Full Article: 2 Mich. Supreme Court justices urge looking into election fraud claims

Michigan: What We Know About a Suddenly Important State Elections Board | Kathleen Gray/The New York Times

The work of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers is not glamorous and rarely draws much attention. Its members handle matters like reviewing petition signatures and helping local clerks find voting machines. But on Monday, the national spotlight will fall on one of the board’s normally mundane tasks: reviewing results from the presidential election that have been certified by Michigan’s 83 counties and giving a stamp of approval. The winner is clear. Joseph R. Biden Jr. beat President Trump in the state by over 150,000 votes, according to the Michigan Bureau of Elections. But Mr. Trump and his Republican allies are trying to upend that reality by urging the board to refuse to certify the election results. They have made baseless claims about discrepancies in the vote tallies, especially in Wayne County, which includes Detroit and is predominantly Black, and have argued that an investigation should be carried out before the state’s 16 electoral votes are awarded to Mr. Biden. Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, said on Sunday that state law dictated that no audit or investigation could be done until the election was certified, because state elections officials cannot legally gain access to poll books or ballot boxes before then. The Board of State Canvassers, which will meet at 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday, includes two Republicans and two Democrats. While election law experts say the certification vote is a strictly ministerial duty that the board members are obligated to fulfill, political operatives in Michigan are preparing for a chain of events in which the two Republicans on the board follow the Trump campaign’s wishes. A 2-to-2 deadlock, which would prolong Republicans’ unprecedented attempts to overturn this year’s presidential race, would most likely prompt Democrats to ask the state Court of Appeals to order the board to do its constitutional duty and certify the election results.

Full Article: What We Know About a Suddenly Important Michigan Elections Board – The New York Times

Michigan House speaker floats possibility of ‘constitutional crisis’ | Craig Mauger/The Detroit News

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield referenced the possibility of a “constitutional crisis” during an interview on Fox News Sunday morning, two days after he huddled with President Donald Trump at the White House. The Board of State Canvassers meets Monday to consider certifying Michigan’s statewide election results, including President-elect Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory. But top Republican Party leaders have asked the board to delay certification in a bid to investigate “anomalies and irregularities” they claim occurred on Nov. 3. The board features two Republicans and two Democrats. Many legal experts believe the panel has a duty, under Michigan law, to certify the results Monday. “If there were to be a 2-2 split on the State Board of Canvassers, it would then go to the Michigan Supreme Court to determine what their response would be, what their order would be,” Chatfield, R-Levering said on “Fox & Friends” Sunday. “If they didn’t have an order that it be certified, well now we have a constitutional crisis in the state of Michigan. It’s never occurred before.” Chatfield made the comment in response to a question about what would happen if the board divided along party lines. The top lawmaker in the GOP-controlled House said the Legislature decided “long ago” to have the certification process run through the state board.

Full Article: Michigan House speaker floats possibility of ‘constitutional crisis’

Michigan: What the affidavits to stop Detroit ballot count claimed, and how they were rebutted | Mark Hicks/The Detroit News

When Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, focused Thursday on the recent lawsuit by Detroit poll challengers who sought to stop the canvassing of Wayne County election results, he pointed to the affidavits made public in the case. Those eight filings in the Costantino v. Detroit lawsuit included claims that targeted alleged restrictions on poll challengers, late-arriving absentee ballots and clerk’s office workers who encouraged early voters to cast their ballots for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and Democrats. Giuliani’s claims Thursday joined a series of attempts by President Trump’s supporters to discount Biden’s win in Michigan and undermine the election of Joseph Biden Jr. as president. A Wayne County judge last week denied the request, finding many of the claims without merit following rebuttals from city officials. The city of Detroit has denied the allegations in the case and said they are proof the plaintiffs “do not understand absent voter ballot processing and tabulating.” “It is clear also that they did not operate through the leadership of their challenger party, because the issues they bring forward were by and large discussed and resolved with the leadership of their challenger party,” according to an affidavit by Chris Thomas, a retired 36-year elections director for Michigan under both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state.

Full Article: What the affidavits to stop Detroit ballot count claimed, and how they were rebutted

G.O.P. faces outcry in Michigan after refusing to certify vote: ‘You could see the racism.’ | Kathleen Gray, Jim Rutenberg, Nick Corasaniti and Glenn Thrush/The New York Times

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.

Full Article: G.O.P. faces outcry in Michigan after refusing to certify vote: ‘You could see the racism.’ – The New York Times

Michigan: GOP members of Wayne County canvassing board ask to ‘rescind’ their votes certifying the election | Tom Hamburger, Kayla Ruble and Tim Elfrink/The Washington Post

After three hours of tense deadlock on Tuesday, the two Republicans on an election board in Michigan’s most populous county reversed course and voted to certify the results of the presidential election, a key step toward finalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Now, they both want to take back their votes. In affidavits signed on Wednesday evening, the two GOP members of the four-member Wayne County Board of Canvassers allege that they were improperly pressured into certifying the election and accused Democrats of reneging on a promise to audit votes in Detroit. “I rescind my prior vote,” Monica Palmer, the board’s chairwoman, wrote in an affidavit reviewed by The Washington Post. “I fully believe the Wayne County vote should not be certified.” William Hartmann, the other Republican on the board, has signed a similar affidavit, according a person familiar with the document. Hartmann did not respond to a message from The Post. Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat and the board’s vice chairman, told The Post that it’s too late for the pair to reverse course, as the certified results have already been sent to the secretary of state in accordance with state rules. He lashed out at the Republicans over their requests.

Full Article: Wayne County, Michigan, GOP members of canvassing board ask to ‘rescind’ their votes certifying the election – The Washington Post

When Michigan Republicans Refused to Certify Votes, It Wasn’t Normal | Maggie Astor/The New York Times

For a few hours on Tuesday, it looked as though two Republican officials in Wayne County, Mich., might reject the will of hundreds of thousands of voters. President Trump’s campaign cheered them on. But hundreds of Michiganders logged on to a Zoom call to express their fury. And around 9 p.m., the Republicans reversed themselves, certifying the count. Voters in Michigan and beyond were left wondering: What just happened? Could the results of a free election really be blocked that easily, in such a routine part of the electoral process? In this case, the answer was no, but perhaps only because so many people said so.

Full Article: When Michigan Republicans Refused to Certify Votes, It Wasn’t Normal – The New York Times

Michigan: In reversal, GOP officials in Wayne County certify ballot count after striking a compromise with Democrats | Kayla Ruble, Elise Viebeck, Josh Dawsey and Jon Swaine/The Washington Post

Republican appointees on a key board in Michigan’s most populous county Tuesday night reversed their initial refusal to certify the vote tallies in the Detroit area, striking a last-minute compromise with Democrats that defused a political fight over the process to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. The unexpected twist came after the four-member Wayne County Board of Canvassers had deadlocked on the day of the deadline for Michigan counties to certify the vote — a move President Trump celebrated on Twitter as “a beautiful thing.” The Trump campaign has alleged irregularities in the vote count in the county seat of Detroit, accusations city officials have vigorously denied. Democrats accused GOP officials of seeking to disenfranchise voters in the majority-Black city of Detroit. State Democrats say Trump has no hope of overturning Biden’s 148,000-vote lead. Trump supporters had urged Michigan’s majority-Republican state legislature to try to appoint its own electors if the state canvassing board, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, failed to certify the vote before the electoral college meets in December.

Full Article: In reversal, GOP officials in key Michigan county certify ballot count after striking a compromise with Democrats – The Washington Post

Michigan Court of Appeals rejects appeal in lawsuit seeking to delay Wayne County election certification | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

On Monday, the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected the request to reverse a Wayne County Circuit Court judge’s Friday ruling allowing the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to complete the audit of the November election and certify the county’s election results by the Nov. 17 deadline as required under state law. The lawsuit, filed by David Kallman on behalf of two Wayne County voters, asked the court to require an independent audit of the votes cast by Wayne County voters, separate from the one already being undertaken by the county’s Board of Canvassers. The lawsuit also asked the court to void the Nov. 3 election and order a new one. President-elect Joe Biden won the county by a margin of nearly 323,000 votes. The lawsuit rested on allegations that local election officials oversaw a fraudulent election in Detroit, focusing their claims on events that took place at the TCF Center where Detroit’s election workers counted absentee ballots cast by the city’s voters. In his Friday opinion, Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Kenny wrote that the account of Detroit’s election process presented in the lawsuit was “incorrect and not credible” and denied the request to order an audit of the election.

Full Article: Court of Appeals won’t delay Wayne County election certification

Michigan: When to Worry, When to Not, and the Takeaway from Antrim County | Cindy Cohn/Electronic Frontier Foundation

Everyone wants an election that is secure and reliable. With technology in the mix, making sure that the technology supports this is critical. EFF has long-warned against blindly adopting technologies that can be easily manipulated or fail without having systems in place to test, secure, and catch problems, including through risk limiting audits. At the same time, not every problem is worth pulling the fire alarm about—we have to look at the bigger story and context.  And we have to stand down when our worst fears turn out to be unfounded. A story out of Michigan last week in Antrim County provides a good opportunity to apply this. What seems to have happened is that a needed software update was not applied to a system that helps collect and report digital vote information—the county has paper ballots that are scanned—from the county. As a result, it appeared that 6,000 votes shifted from Republicans to Democrats in the unofficial reports. That is very worrisome. However, when the update was applied, the votes shifted back because the actual tabulation figures were correct. Of course there were paper ballots too, that would have been cross-checked under Michigan’s processes had this not been caught so early.  Our longtime election security friend and partner Professor Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan has a more technical rundown on his Twitter feed. This story should be one that takes what could have been a big worry and instead gives us cause for relief. Instead of just direct-recording electronic voting machines (DREs) and election systems that don’t have fail-safes for errors, Michigan had good error-checking, and the error was caught quickly. Even if it hadn’t been, it is very likely that it would have been caught later, as the results shifted from unofficial to official. And it wasn’t even a computer or software error; it was a human one. But, of course, systems should take steps to protect against errors by humans running them too.

Full Article: Election Security: When to Worry, When to Not, and the Takeaway from Antrim County, Michigan | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Michigan: State senators want ‘audit’ of election before canvassing. That’s what canvassing is, Secretary of State says. | Carol Thompson/Lansing State Journal

Two state senators are asking the Secretary of State to “audit” the November election before certifying results, citing a handful of alleged improprieties, most of which have been debunked in the press. Sens. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, and Lana Theis, R-Brighton, made the request in a Friday letter to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The Secretary of State’s office is reviewing their request while the State Board of Canvassers meets to certify the election. The canvassing process itself is an audit, spokesperson Tracy Wimmer said. The state canvassers must convene by Nov. 23. In their letter, Barrett and Theis repeated claims raised by Michigan Republicans since the polls closed on Nov. 3. They pointed to an instance in Antrim County, where a clerk’s failure to update software caused results to temporarily show Democrat Joe Biden in the lead. A University of Michigan voting security expert told the Detroit Free Press the mistake, which was corrected, was caused by an “unusual sequence of events very unlikely to affect any other jurisdictions,” although many other jurisidictions use the same software.

Full Article: 2 state senators ask Michigan Secretary of State for election audit

Michigan: Pro-Trump forces spin legal wheels in challenging election results | Paul Egan Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

Lawsuits filed in the wrong courts. Naming the wrong defendants. Alleging facts with no connection to the defendants being sued. Forces backing Republican President Donald Trump have filed at least five lawsuits in state and federal courts in Michigan seeking to delay or stop the state’s certification of 16 electoral votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. With every Michigander’s vote cast and counted in the presidential contest, showing Biden defeating Trump by close to 150,000 votes according to the unofficial tally, elections workers statewide are now undertaking the tedious process of officially certifying the vote and converting the state’s popular vote into the state’s Electoral College votes. That process relies on local and state election officials meeting a series of tight deadlines and fulfilling their legal duties. And derailing this process appears to be a goal the lawsuits all share. The suits could create significant complications if they produced court orders delaying certification of election results in key Michigan counties beyond Tuesday’s deadline, or dragged out thecertification of statewide results beyond the Dec. 8 “safe harbor” date by which Congress is required to accept Michigan’s electoral votes. But the suits have been marked by unusual legal missteps and repeated judicial setbacks. Some analysts say it is difficult to discern a coherent strategy, other than to seek to undermine overall confidence in the elections process.

Full Article: Pro-Trump forces remain hitless in Michigan election challenges

Michigan election software isn’t good enough at detecting human error, expert says | Gus Burns and Douglas Faherty/MLive.com

Michigan’s election software systems should be better at catching human error, experts say after at least two cases of flawed early results reporting on Election Day. Some Republican leaders point to the errors among several reasons they believe the 2020 election results lack integrity. Meanwhile, state officials assure the public there is nothing to worry about. These mistakes were exceptions, the result of user error and fail-safes are in place that would have caught the inaccuracies before they were certified anyway, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office said. “The erroneous reporting of unofficial results from Antrim county was a result of accidental error on the part of the Antrim County clerk,” Benson’s office said. “The equipment and software did not malfunction and all ballots were properly tabulated. However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.” Iowa University Professor Douglas W. Jones has worked with election software for a quarter century. He said “silly clerical errors” should always be expected, but voting software could do much more to protect the integrity of election results.

Full Article: Michigan election software isn’t good enough at detecting human error, expert says – mlive.com

Meet Michigan’s ‘dead’ voters. They’re quite alive, despite false fraud claims | Jonathan Oosting/Bridge Michigan

Donna Brydges is very much alive and playing cribbage with her husband in their home near Ludington. June Aiken of Napoleon Township is “alive and well” too — “quite well, in fact,” according to police. Same goes for William Bradley of Detroit, whose father of the same name died decades ago. You wouldn’t know it from social media, where supporters of President Donald Trump last week alleged voter fraud as they falsely claimed proof that Brydges, Aiken, Bradley and other Michiganders were dead but had cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election. Like many false fraud claims that have spread online in the last week, officials say the accusations were triggered by a series of isolated data input errors by some of Michigan’s 1,603 local and county election clerks. In Michigan, clerks and their election workers enter voter and ballot information in a statewide database known as the Qualified Voter File. And yes, they occasionally make mistakes, as they do in every election before they are eventually caught and rectified.

Full Article: Meet Michigan’s ‘dead’ voters. They’re quite alive, despite false fraud claims | Bridge Michigan

Michigan: In poll watcher affidavits, Trump campaign offers no evidence of fraud in Detroit ballot-counting | David A. Fahrenthold, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger/The Washington Post

Inside Detroit’s absentee-ballot-counting center, one Republican poll watcher complained that workers were wearing Black Lives Matter gear. She thought one of them — a “man of intimidating size” — had followed her too closely. Another Republican poll watcher complained about the public address system. Workers were using it to make announcements. It was loud. “This was very distracting to those of us trying to concentrate,” he said. A third poll watcher noticed that when absentee ballots came in from military personnel, many showed votes for Democrats. He found that odd. “I can estimate that at least 80% of military ballots I saw were straight ticket Democrat or simply had Joe Biden’s name filled in on them,” the man wrote. “I had always been told that military people tended to be conservative, so this stuck out to me.” On Wednesday, President Trump’s campaign asked a federal judge to take a drastic step: block the state of Michigan from certifying the results of its presidential election. President-elect Joe Biden now leads Trump by about 148,000 votes there. To back up that lawsuit, Trump’s campaign had promised “shocking” evidence of misconduct. Instead, the campaign produced 238 pages of affidavits from Republican poll watchers across Michigan containing no evidence of significant fraud but rather allegations about ballot-counting procedures that state workers have already debunked — and in some cases, complaints about rude behavior or unpleasant looks from poll workers or Democratic poll watchers.

Full Article: In poll watcher affidavits, Trump campaign offers no evidence of fraud in Detroit ballot-counting – The Washington Post

Michigan: Detroit judge promises opinion on lawsuit alleging election fraud | Clara Hendrickson/Detroit Free Press

The attorney who brought a lawsuit against Wayne County and Detroit election officials this week claimed at a hearing Wednesday that local election officials had failed to refute claims of election fraud leveled against them and stated his right to ask the court to intervene to block certification of the election results. The lawsuit, filed by attorney  David Kallman, also asks the court to void the Nov. 3 election and order a new one. Lawyers representing local election officials denied the claims of fraud and argued that the case, if allowed to proceed, would disenfranchise voters, give credence to election conspiracies and potentially prevent Michigan from being able to appoint electors in time to cast the state’s Electoral College votes. Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge Timothy M. Kenny promised to issue his ruling Friday. The lawsuit — filed on behalf of Wayne County residents Cheryl A. Costantino and Edward P. McCall Jr. — bases its claims on what it says are instances of election fraud observed at the  TCF Center, where Detroit election workers processed and counted absentee ballots cast by the city’s voters.

Full Article: Detroit judge promises opinion on lawsuit alleging election fraud

Michigan: Trump campaign says new lawsuit seeks to stop certification of election results | Dave Boucher/Detroit Free Press

The campaign of President Donald Trump said Tuesday it is suing Michigan in federal court in an effort to prevent final certification of the state’s election results, as Trump continues to refuse to concede to Joe Biden or accept the outcome of the race for the presidency. The allegations of election misconduct are similar to those outlined in other lawsuits in Michigan and additional states. These lawsuits have largely not succeeded; some incorporate allegations that have been debunked or refuted, either by the Free Press or elections officials.  Attorneys for the Trump campaign said the new lawsuit would be filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Although the bulk of the allegations appear to focus on Detroit, located on the other side of the state, the seat of state government in Lansing is located in the Western District.  As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the lawsuit was not available in the federal court’s online document system.

Full Article: Trump campaign wants lawsuit to stop certification of election results

Michigan: Detroit lawsuit alleges more misconduct in elections process | Dave Boucher and Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A new lawsuit seeks a judge’s order blocking certification of election results from Wayne County, citing a range of allegations from Republican poll watchers and a city of Detroit election worker. The allegations include workers coaching people on how to vote, peeking at ballots to see how people voted before processing them and preventing Republican poll inspectors from being able to effectively watch the counting process. The lawsuit cites six sworn affidavits, but does not include or reference any additional evidence or proof of misconduct. They also come as Michigan and national Republicans continue to say alleged voting irregularities must be investigated before any presidential victor can be declared. David Fink, an attorney for the city of Detroit, dismissed the case as “another belated lawsuit, raising baseless allegations, trying to undermine confidence in a well-run election.”  David Kallman, the Lansing attorney who represented the Owosso barber who refused to close his shop during the spring stay-at-home order related to the coronavirus, said in a Sunday news release he has filed the suit in Wayne County Circuit Court. He and others cited in the lawsuit allege fraud inside the TCF Center in Detroit, where local absentee ballots were counted. The lawsuit was formally filed Monday afternoon against the city of Detroit, Detroit Election Commission, Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett and the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. Reached Monday afternoon, Winfrey said she is not doing any media interviews. Two previous lawsuits making similar allegations have been dismissed by Michigan judges. The Trump campaign’s first attempt at an appeal in one case came up short — the Court of Appeals said the campaign’s attorneys needed to file additional documents before it could determine what to do with the case.

Full Article: Detroit lawsuit alleges more misconduct in elections process

Michigan: Failure updating software caused Antrim County vote glitch | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A failure to properly update software was the reason for a computer glitch that caused massive errors in unofficial election results reported from Antrim county, the Michigan Department of State said late Friday. And a U-M professor of computer science and engineering who specializes in voting systems and securities says it appears the snafu arose from an “unusual sequence of events very unlikely to affect any other jurisdictions.” … J. Alex Halderman, the U-M professor and voting systems expert, said he has looked into the incident and determined that the problem arose because Antrim officials made a mistake before the election when they loaded a new version of the “election definition” — the data that is similar to a spreadsheet describing the races and candidates on the ballot. According to the state, the new “election definition” was loaded in October after county officials learned of two local races in which ballot information had to be updated. County officials correctly loaded the new version onto the scanners for the affected precincts, but left the old version on scanners for precincts where the ballot was not affected by the late change, Halderman said. So although the scanners in the tabulators counted all the votes in each precinct correctly, the different versions of the ballot resulted in problems and erroneous vote totals when the precinct results were combined in the election management system, a separate software package used to manage and consolidate results before they are reported to the state, he said. “Since the scanners … used slightly different election definitions, some of the positions didn’t line up properly,” Halderman said. “As a result, when the results were read by the election management system, some of them were initially assigned to the wrong candidates.”

Full Article: Michigan: Failure updating software caused Antrim County vote glitch

Michigan: State election agency says failure to update software caused Antrim County election glitch | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

A failure to update software was the reason for a computer glitch that caused massive errors in unofficial election results reported from Antrim county, the Michigan Department of State said late Friday. “The erroneous reporting of unofficial results from Antrim county was a result of accidental error on the part of the Antrim County clerk,” the state agency that oversees elections said in a news release. There was no problem with the voting machines or vote totals, which were preserved on tapes printed from the tabulators, the state said. The problem occurred when the totals by precinct were combined into candidate county-wide totals for transfer to the state, using election management system software, the state agency said in a news release. “All ballots were properly tabulated. However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.” State officials did not immediately respond to questions about whether they track when and how local officials update their election-related software or whether local officials are required to report needed updates to the state, once they are completed.

Full Article: State: Failure to update software caused Antrim vote glitch

Michigan: Judge denies Trump campaign request to stall ballot count | Beth LeBlanc/The Detroit News

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens said Thursday she plans to deny a  request by  President Donald Trump’s campaign to stop the counting of Michigan ballots until more poll challengers can observe. Stephens said she will issue a written order by Friday afternoon. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has already told local election officials to give access to poll challengers, the judge said. But the responsibility to give that access ultimately lies with the local election officials, who are not listed in the complaint.  Further, Stephens said, Michigan’s count largely is completed and relief in the form of a halt to counting is unavailable. When the suit was filed at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the state had made large inroads into completing its count, she said. “I have no basis to find that there’s a substantial likelihood of success on the merits as it relates to this defendant, nor am I convinced that there is a clear legal duty on the part of anyone who is promptly before this court to manage this issue,” Stephens said. The suit — which alleged damages to election challenger Eric Ostergren of Roscommon County — argued that Michigan’s absent voter counting boards are not allowing inspectors from each party to be present.

Full Article: Judge to deny Trump campaign request to stall Michigan ballot count

Michigan’s Antrim County election results investigated after going blue | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

Officials are investigating wonky election results in Antrim County in northern Michigan that could add a few thousand votes to the tallies for President Donald Trump and Republican Senate candidate John James. Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican who ran unopposed and won a third four-year term Tuesday in the strongly GOP county, said results on electronic tapes and a computer card were accurate but it appeared that some of the results were somehow scrambled after the cards were transported in sealed bags from township precincts to county offices and downloaded onto a computer. In 2016, Trump won Antrim County with about 62% of the vote, compared with about 33% for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump beat Clinton by about 4,000 votes. Wednesday morning, Antrim results showed Democrat Joe Biden leading Trump by slightly more than 3,000 votes, with 98% of precincts reporting. Officials had not checked the results before posting them, but later asked: “How could Democrats take over this county?” Guy said Wednesday. Now, officials are going over the tape of all the results and inputting the numbers manually, Guy said. They hoped to post updated numbers Wednesday night, she said.

Full Article: Michigan’s Antrim County election results investigated after going blue

Michigan: Judge orders USPS to speed up Detroit ballot delivery | Nushrat Rahman/Detroit Free Press

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered the United States Postal Service to accelerate the delivery of ballots in two regions, including Detroit, state officials announced Saturday. Judge Stanley Bastian issued the order on Friday following a status conference with USPS and a coalition of 13 plaintiff states, including Michigan, according to a news release. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in August joined a coalition of states filing a federal lawsuit against the USPS following slowdowns in mail service. Along with Detroit, the post office is also required to speed up delivery in the Lakeland region in Wisconsin under the order. “The slowdown of mail delivery in our state — especially in Detroit — has had a dramatic negative impact on the timely delivery of absentee ballots,” Nessel said in the release. “This has been a serious impediment to voters who have made the effort to request, receive, vote and return their absentee ballots. The Court’s order is an important step in righting this wrong but it is only a temporary fix to an ongoing problem.”

Full Article: Judge orders USPS to speed up Detroit ballot delivery

Michigan clerks have ‘deep concern’ about violence, COVID-19 at polls | Dave Boucher Christina Hall/Detroit Free Press

It’s not the surge in absentee ballots, or even the global pandemic that have Alpena City Clerk Anna Soik most concerned heading into Election Day. The clerk of the roughly 10,000-person city that rests on the shores of Lake Huron in northern Michigan is instead worried about what happens if someone fired up about the election brings a gun to a polling place. “I’m not going to lie, I am concerned about it. And we may possibly even have a police presence,” Soik said. “Because I think right now, in the time that we’re in, everybody is kind of on edge, and you just don’t know how someone is going to react, so we just need to be prepared for that.” Michigan election officials understand they face unprecedented challenges on Tuesday. They know someone may contract the coronavirus on Election Day, or that a woman or man with a gun may disrupt voting somewhere. They know a voting populace desperate for results will question why we do not know who won within minutes of polls closing. They are experts on absentee voting, ballot tabulation and poll worker training. They are not epidemiologists. They are not law enforcement officers.

Full Article: Michigan clerks have ‘deep concern’ about violence, COVID-19 at polls

Michigan: ’This is a voting right case’: Election officials appeal court ruling allowing guns at polls | Justin P. Hicks/MLive.com

Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state are appealing a recent court ruling that struck down a ban on openly carrying firearms at all polling locations on election day. Dana Nessel and Jocelyn Benson submitted their appeal on Wednesday, Oct. 28, with an expedited relief request for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. In the brief, they argued that the ban on open carry of firearms on Nov. 3 was to protect every Michigander’s right to vote. “Make no mistake. This is a voting rights case,” reads the opening line of the state’s brief to the Michigan Court of Appeals. On Oct. 16, Benson issued a directive instructing local clerks to ban the open carry of guns at all polling places on Nov. 3. The purpose of the ban, she said, was to protect voters from intimidation. But a group of Michigan gun groups sued to invalidate it. On Tuesday, Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray granted a preliminary injunction, overturning the ban and allowing open carry at most polling locations.

Full Article: ’This is a voting right case’: Michigan officials appeal court ruling allowing guns at polls – mlive.com