CBS Detroit – There’s a lawsuit that seeks to overturn a recent ruling that allows anyone to deliver absentee ballots and that absentee ballots received after election day must count. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan RepublicanParty and Republican National Committee (RNC) have launched a lawsuit suing Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel in hopes to reverse a recent court ruling.
With the COVID-19 Pandemic, 1.6 million people voted via absentee ballots in th primary election, and that number could increase 60%-70% of the state in the main election according to West Michigan CBS affiliate WWMT. The lawsuit by the GOP alleges the absentee ballot ruling needs to be overturned due to prevent “ballot harvesting” and invalidate those ballots received after election day. The goal they claim is to prevent the potential for election fraud, those on the other side of the aisle say all this does is disenfranchise voters.
Ballot harvesting Republicans say stems from that allowing anyone to deliver a ballot, allows for more people to tamper with ballots. Harvesting ballots and changing the vote towards a certain candidate, or the ballot not making it to the polls at all. Claiming the state law is clear, unambiguous, and important. they argue it is the legislature’s job to determine ballot deadlines.
Cout of Claims Judge Cynthia Stepehns ruled in September that state laws allowing only certain people… which inlcude family and U.S.P.S. workers to deliver absentee ballots is unconstitutional. Judge Stephen’s decision also ruled the part of the law saying any ballot delivered after 8 pm on election day invalid was also unconstitutional. According to the wording of the law, if a ballot was post-marked hours or days before the 8 pm election-day deadline, it would have had to be deemed invalid. The bases for her ruling was the laws were unconstitutional becuase of COVID-19.
According to the Free Press, judge Stephens wrote in her ruling, “The unrefuted affidavits and documents compel the conclusion that, in light of delays attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, mail delivery has become significantly compromised, and the risk for disenfranchisement when a voter returns an absent voter ballot by mail is very real,”.
So what her ruling means is, as long as a ballot is postmarked by November 2nd, and is delievered before the results of the elections are certified, the ballot is valid, and that anyone cand deliver the ballots for the voter.
The problem the Michigan GOP and RNC faces with this latest appeal is Judge Stephens of the Court of Claims is also assigned to this case as well. Both Attorney General Nessel and Secretary of State Benson have said they will not appeal Judge Stephens’ original decision. So for now, the Court of Claims ruling is law in the State of Michigan.
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