By Patrick Colbeck
Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of citizen plaintiffs seeking election integrity in a 3-0 decision.
Summary of Case
The plaintiffs asserted in their lawsuit that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued directives in a May 2022 Manual that violated Michigan law.
- Article II Section 4 of the Michigan Constitution
- MCL 168.21
- MCL 168.31
- MCL 168.727
- MCL 168.732
- MCL 168.733
- MCL 168.765a
The original decision by Michigan Court of Claims Judge Brock Swartzle ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Benson proceeded to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was ordered by the Michigan Court of Appeals to either:
(1) rescind the May 2022 Manual in its entirety
(2) revise the May 2022 Manual to comply with this opinion and order
or (3) revise an earlier iteration of the manual to comply with this opinion and order.
When the Court of Claims issued a similar ruling, the MI SoS ignored the order. When plaintiffs filed a motion to hold the MI SoS in contempt of court, in a rare action, the Michigan Supreme Court intervened and stated it was acceptable for the MI SoS to conduct an unlawful election.
In apparent anticipation of the court’s decision in O’Halloran v Benson, supporters of Benson’s unlawful directives are attempting to change the law to make her directives lawful.
Under the proposed language of HB4129, election workers who feel “triggered” by a poll challenger could unilaterally threaten to file a criminal complaint against the challenger. Suffice it to say, election workers, especially corrupt election workers, do not like being challenged by anyone asserting that an election process is not being executed in a lawful manner. There are numerous examples of altercations due to such oversight during the 2020 election. The net effect of such a law would be to discourage oversight of elections thereby enabling election fraud.
While passage of this legislation would not negate the fact that multiple elections have already been conducted under her unlawful directives, it would be successful at discouraging oversight of elections by poll challengers in future elections.
The 3-0 decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals is a major victory for election integrity but it is clear that the efforts by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to discourage oversight of elections by poll challengers will continue.
The question that remains is, “Will Jocelyn Benson finally issue directives to election officials that comply with Michigan election law?”