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Judge to rule against Trump's campaign lawsuit filed in Michigan

The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, will get a written order from a Michigan Court of Claims judge by the end of the week.

November 5, 2020

A Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled against the lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign in an attempt to stop vote counting in Michigan. Judge Cynthia Stephens will issue a written order ruling against President Trump’s campaign later in the week.

The lawsuit, filed by the Trump Campaign, alleged that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was violating the rights of Michigan citizens by not allowing bipartisan observers and challengers to look in on the process of counting absentee ballots. 

3.5 million absentee ballots were requested this year in the state of Michigan, and 3.3 million people voted by absentee ballot in this election. As a swing state, all eyes were on Michigan voters. 

The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, called the absentee ballot counting process into question. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement after the Trump campaign had been hinting at the idea of filing a lawsuit. 

The statement issued from Press Secretary Ryan Jarvi said “Michigan’s elections have been conducted transparently, with access provided for both political parties and the public, and using a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that all ballots are counted fairly and accurately."

The statement continued, “At this time our department has not been notified by the Court of Claims about this lawsuit and when we are served, we will review it and respond accordingly. Michigan will always continue to protect the rights of all voters to have their ballots counted.”

After Michigan projected Joe Biden to win the state’s 16 electoral votes, Benson addressed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit.

“I would caution everyone against spreading misinformation designed to further efforts to sow seeds of doubt about the integrity of our elections here in Michigan and throughout the country,” Benson said. “Whether it’s doctored images, staged demonstrations, false tweets or frivolous lawsuits, the purpose is all the same — to reduce the public’s faith in our elections and their outcomes.”

Judge Stephens said she will rule against the Trump Campaign, stating that the relief requested was largely unavailable as the majority of votes had been counted in the time since the lawsuit had been filed. The campaign filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the counting of ballots in Michigan, but since most counting has been concluded in the state, the relief could not be attained. 

Stephens also said that Benson had informed election officials to give access to the poll challengers. But, this decision is ultimately up to the individual election officials, who were not listed in the lawsuit filed.

After Judge Stephen’s ruling, Attorney General Nessel’s Press Secretary Ryan Jarvi released a statement. “We are pleased with Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens' swift action in today’s hearing on Trump v Benson to deny the relief requested by plaintiffs,” the statement said.

“She identified the same defects in the campaign's filings as we did, namely a complete lack of any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of election officials, and meritless legal arguments. Michigan’s elections have been fair, transparent and reflect the will of the voters, and we will continue to defend against any challenges that claim otherwise.”

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