Latest lawsuit over Michigan's 2020 election likely to be tossed, experts say

2022-09-17 20:21:50 By : Mr. Newben Yang

A federal lawsuit filed Friday against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson calls for Michigan to “re-run” the 2020 presidential election over unproven and debunked claims of election fraud nearly two years after Michigan voters elected now-President Joe Biden by more than 150,000 votes.

In the complaint, lawyers allege the election should not have been certified by the Board of State Canvassers due to the voting software used in some counties.

The complaint lists as plaintiffs two west Michigan voters, the Macomb County Republican Party chapter, U.S. Taxpayers Party’s gubernatorial candidate Donna Brandenburg, a nonprofit known as Election Integrity Fund and Force, and Irving Township Clerk Sharon Olson.

Olson was one of the clerks who handed over vote tabulators to a group now being investigated for illegally accessing voting machines, according to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office.

Specifically, the lawsuit states that since 24 counties use voting software not certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, election results in all of Michigan’s 83 counties should not have been certified. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, asks a judge to invalidate the Board of State Canvassers' certification of the 2020 election and have the election take place again. It's unclear how an election would be re-done in such a circumstance.

But Michigan law gives the responsibility to certify election software to the Board of State Canvassers, not the EAC. Election experts have said the suit's allegations don't add up, highlighting the various steps officials take ahead of elections to ensure they are accurate and secure, and noting that Michigan law does not require EAC certification.

Chris Thomas, who spent 36 years as Michigan's director of elections until retiring in 2017, said the lawsuit is likely to be unsuccessful in relitigating the 2020 election. The EAC's role is to provide voluntary guidelines for operating voting systems, he said.

"It certainly will not accomplish what it's after if that's what they're really after," he told the Free Press.

David Becker, chair of the Center for Election Innovation and Research noted that the certification status of every election system in Michigan was known at the time of the 2020 election.

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"If you have a problem with the technology that's being used, you know what the technology is. You can bring a lawsuit in advance of the election. People did that in Georgia. Those lawsuits failed as well," Becker said.

"But that wasn't done in Michigan. You can't come two years after an election that you don't like the result of and claim not to have liked the technology that you knew was being used and you could have challenged at the time."

Bob Ginsberg, co-chair of the Election Official Legal Defense Network, said election systems go through accuracy tests ahead of every election to ensure votes are counted correctly.

“That's the time to raise something about the accuracy of machines, not long afterwards,” Ginsberg said. “I don't think any court is going to decide to disenfranchise every Michigan voter on the strength of that complaint.”

A spokesperson for Benson’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said that “meritless lawsuits have been used to gain media attention and mislead citizens by spreading election misinformation.”

“The 2020 election was the most scrutinized election in state history and more than 250 audits, the State Senate Oversight Committee and the state’s Auditor General all affirmed the integrity and accuracy of the election,” a press secretary said over email.

Since Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020, the former president and his allies have spread numerous theories, without proof, that the 2020 election was fraudulent in swing states that went to Biden, including Michigan.

A report from a Republican-led committee in the Michigan Senate and other statewide audits have found no evidence of election fraud in the state.

Numerous lawsuits challenging Michigan's 2020 election results have been unsuccessful. Since then, the state has administered multiple elections, including the August primary most recently.

Contact Arpan Lobo: Follow him on Twitter @arpanlobo.