The lawsuit over the 2020 election appear to be ongoing with a ruling this week from Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) broke state law in issuing new rules on absentee balloting prior to the 2020 election. The orders concerned instructions on what constitutes a”match” for verification signatures — a core issue raised by the Trump campaign in its election challenges. There’s absolutely no proof that the breach of state law altered the results of the election at the country and the court failed to make a fresh audit. On the other hand, the court found that Murray shouldn’t have issued the orders and, in doing this, violated the state’s Administrative Procedures Act.
Benson ordered that clerks follow a highly deferential standard in favor of the voter and verification. The court explained:
The stated goal of the at-issue document was to”provide[ ] standards” for assessing signatures, verifying signatures, and treating missing or mismatched signatures. Under a heading entitled”Procedures for Signature Verification,” the document said that signature review”starts with the presumption that” the signature within an absent voter ballot application or voter is valid.Further, the form instructs clerks to, even if there are”any redeeming qualities at the [absent voter]application or return signature in comparison with the signature on document, treat the signature as valid.” (Emphasis in original). “Redeeming qualities” are explained as including, but not being limited to,”similar distinctive flourishes,” and”more matching attributes than nonmatching capabilities.” Signatures”must be considered suspicious” the guidance clarified, just if they disagree”in several, significant and obvious respects from the signature .” (Emphasis in original). “[W]henever possible,” election officials were to solve”[s]mild dissimilarities” in favor of finding that the voter’s signature was valid.
The segment on signature-verification processes goes on to repeat the notion that”clerks should presume that a voter’s [absent voter] application or envelope trademark is their genuine signature, since there are lots of acceptable reasons that can lead to an apparent mismatch.”
The court decided that the orders on the signature-matching demands equates to some”rule” and consequently should have adopted the requirements under the APA.
Here’s the opinion: Genetski v. Benson, No. 20-216-MM at the Court of Claims to the State of Michigan
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