Judge Rules Michigan Secretary of State’s Absentee Ballot Order Broke the Law

Months after it would have made a difference, a judge has ruled that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) broke the law when she unilaterally issued directives related to absentee balloting in the 2020 election, Breitbart reported.

In October of 2020, Benson unilaterally ordered that absentee ballot applications be mailed to all registered voters, and issued “guidance” on how to evaluate the absentee ballots.

Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray ruled in Genetski v. Benson that Benson’s directives violated the state’s Administrative Procedures Act.

In the guidance, Benson said “slight similarities” in signatures on absentee ballots should lead a counter to decide “in favor of finding that the voter’s signature was valid.”

Murray ruled Benson violated the law “because the guidance issued by the Secretary of State on October 6, 2020, with respect to signature matching standards was issued in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).”

The ruling vindicates the Trump campaign and Republicans who argued in multiple legal challenges nationwide after the election that Article II of the Constitution stipulates that only state legislatures have the authority to make the rules governing presidential elections, not state election officials and courts.

“I’m glad the court sees Secretary of State Benson’s attempts at lawmaking for what they are — clear violations of her authority,” Michigan state Rep. Matt Hall (R) said in a statement.

“If she wants to make changes like these, she needs to work with the Legislature or properly promulgate them through the laws we have on the books — in this case the Administrative Procedures Act,” he continued. “The Legislature is an equal branch of government charged with crafting laws. This is not the role of the Secretary of State, and there is a clear process that must be respected.”

Murray’s ruling came after Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski sued Benson and state Director of Elections Jonathan Brater over Benson’s order which Hall described as a “mandatory directive requiring local election officials to apply a presumption of validity to all signatures on absent voter ballots.”

According to the suit, Genetski argued “the presumption contained in the guidance issued by defendant Benson will allow invalid votes to be counted,” but Genetski did not allege “that this guidance caused him to accept a signature that he believed was invalid.”

The court’s opinion concluded:

…nowhere in this state’s election law has the Legislature indicated that signatures are to be presumed valid, nor did the Legislature require that signatures are to be accepted so long as there are any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope as compared with the signature on file. Policy determinations like the one at issue — which places the thumb on the scale in favor of a signature’s validity — should be made pursuant to properly promulgated rules under the APA or by the Legislature.

The ruling blasts a giant hole in the Democrat/media narrative that all of the Republican legal challenges to the 2020 elections lacked merit and deserved to be thrown out.

A lawsuit filed by the the Great Lakes Justice Law Center (GLJC) on November 9 contained affidavits from six election observers who alleged, among many other things, that election workers were ordered to not verify voters’ signatures on absentee ballots, to backdate absentee ballots, and to process such ballots regardless of their validity.

The suit asked for the results in Wayne County to be voided and for an entirely new election to be conducted due to the massive amounts of questionable ballots that were counted.

Timothy M. Kenny, chief judge for the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, dismissed the lawsuit on November 13, arguing that the witnesses “did not have a full understanding” of the process for counting mail ballots at the TCF Center in Detroit.

According to WWMT News, over 3.1 million Michigan voters cast absentee ballots out of a possible 7.7 million voters.

Benson improperly used $4.5 million in funds from the CARE Act in May of 2020, to send absentee ballot applications to all voters, Breitbart reported.

“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Benson said at the time, according to NBC 25.

“Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it,” she maintained.


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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 03: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at a press conference while election workers prepare to secure ballots at Ford Field on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Detroit, MI. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)