Trump is right again! Michigan Court Rules Secretary of State’s Absentee Ballot Order Illegal

A Michigan judge ruled last week that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson violated Michigan law when she unilaterally issued rules related to absentee voting. The Breitbart News said the ruling legitimizes a key point of litigation for the Trump campaign.

Ms. Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state, issued several unilateral orders during the 2020 election, including sending absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, and she also issued “guidelines” for evaluating absentee ballots.

In her guidance on signature matching standards, Benson wrote that the “slight similarity” of signatures on absentee ballots should cause the tellers to “tend to assume that the voter’s signature is valid.

Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray ruled that Benson had violated the law and that “the Secretary of State’s guidance on signature matching standards, issued on Oct. 6, 2020, violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Michigan Rep. Matt Hall, R-Michigan, said in a statement, “I am pleased that the court saw Secretary of State Benson’s attempt to enact the law for what it was, which was beyond her authority. “

Hall continued, “If Benson wants to enact mail-in ballot changes, she needs to work with the Legislature or properly enact the order through the black and white Administrative Procedure Act.”

Judge Murray’s ruling came in response to a case brought by the Allegan County clerk, who sued Benson and the Michigan State Election Director. According to the lawsuit, the Allegan County clerk argued that “the presumption contained in the guidance issued by defendant Benson’s Secretary of State would allow for the counting of invalid ballots.”

The court’s opinion concluded, “Nowhere in this state’s election laws does the Legislature indicate that signatures should be presumed valid, nor does the Legislature require that signatures be accepted so long as the signature in the petition or return envelope has any merit as compared to the signature on file. A policy decision such as this case should be made under the Administrative Procedure Act or by rules properly promulgated by the Legislature. “

Like other progressive Democratic secretaries of state, Benson has aggressively emphasized absentee voting in the name of security in the midst of a viral Communist pandemic. More than 3.1 million of Michigan’s possible 7.7 million voters reportedly used absentee ballots, and in May 2020, Benson used $4.5 million in funding from the original C.C. virus stimulus bill to send absentee ballot applications to all voters.

Hall noted, “The legislature is an equal branch to the government and is responsible for making laws. It is not the role of the Secretary of State to make laws; there are clear procedures for legislation that must be respected.”

The signature verification rule, which was created without legislative approval, is also one of the issues the Trump campaign and Republicans claim is illegal for the 2020 election. The Trump campaign and Republicans have argued in nationwide cases that Article II of the Constitution requires state legislatures, to establish rules governing presidential elections, and that state election officials and courts do not have the authority to change those rules.

Democrats argued that Republican legal challenges to the 2020 election process, which were unfounded, were dismissed by the court, and this ruling by Judge Murray undercuts the Democrats’ argument.

The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 6, 2020, just before the presidential election, but was not decided until March 9, 2021. The case is Genetski v. Benson, No. 20-216-MM, in the Michigan Court of Claims.