Observations On The Michigan Court of Claims Ruling That The State’s Election Rules Were Illegally Changed By Its Democratic Secretary Of State

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, broke state law when she unilaterally changed election rules concerning absentee balloting in the 2020 election.

Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray made the ruling in response to one of the Republican lawsuits alleging that her actions violated the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act. Benson had instructed local election clerks a month before the Nov. 3 election to start with a “presumption” that all signatures on absentee ballots were valid and only reject those that had “multiple significant and obvious” inconsistencies.

The court 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.

Over 3.1 million Michigan voters sent in absentee ballot last November. Biden won the state’s electoral votes by a margin of just over 154,000.

This was not the only judicial ruling that something was amiss in the 2020 balloting. In neighboring Wisconsin, another closely contested state, the state Supreme Court ruled in December that state and local election officials erred when they gave blanket permission for voters to declare themselves home-bound and skip voter ID requirements in the 2020 elections.

In a case challenging the practice in Dane County, one of Wisconsin’s large urban centers around the city of Madison, the state’s highest court ruled that only those voters whose “own age, physical illness or infirmity” makes them home-bound could declare themselves “indefinitely confined” and avoid complying with the requirement for photo ID. Local officials like Dane County and Gov. Tony Evers, the case concluded, did not have legal authority to exempt all voters to get an absentee ballot without an ID. Evers had issued an executive order earlier this year.

“We conclude that both the contention that electors qualify as indefinitely confined solely as the result of the COVID19 pandemic and the declared public health emergency and the contention that Wis. Stat. § 6.86(2)(a) could be used for those who ‘have trouble presenting a valid ID’ are erroneous because those reasons do not come within the statutory criteria,” the court ruled. “We conclude that [Evers’] Emergency Order #12 did not render all Wisconsin electors ‘indefinitely confined,’ thereby obviating the requirement of a valid photo identification to obtain an absentee ballot.”

And in Virginia, a judge in January approved a consent decree permanently banning the acceptance of ballots without postmarks after Election Day, concluding that instructions from the Virginia Department of Elections to the contrary in 2020 had violated state law. The ruling came after the election, so it was the model of a Pyrrhic victory for the GOP.

“If the return envelope has a missing postmark, the ballot shall be rendered invalid,” Frederick County Circuit Judge William W. Eldridge IV ruled in the consent decree.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court washed its hands of the 2020 election controversies, declaring them moot, several more legal challenges remain in live in the states, and two investigations of voting machine logs are pending in Georgia and Arizona.

What’s going on here?

1. Was Donald Trump “vindicated” by the most recent ruling, as I keep reading in conservative media? No. The ruling doesn’t prove that he won “in a landslide”; it doesn’t even prove that he would have won Michigan if Democrats had played it straight. (And winning Michigan wouldn’t have changed the results of the election for Trump anyway.) It doesn’t prove that the election was “rigged,” though it does strongly indicate that Democrats worked hard to rig it.

2. The cases in Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia do show that the Democratic Party stretched, distorted and broke laws to get an illicit advantage in those states, creating a rebuttable presumption that more of the same effected the vote totals in other states.

In short, they cheated.

3. As it was obvious early on that this was the grand plan behind Democrats using the pandemic as an excuse to expand mail-in voting, with all the opportunities that process presents for chicanery, vote harvesting and fraud, it is astounding that Republicans were so slow to raise legal challenges and to allow the strategy to go forward.

That amounted to incompetence and failure of responsibility and civic duty by the Republican Party.

4. The news media narrative that there was no reason to suspect that “widespread fraud” affected the final results of the 2020 Presidential election is just more evidence of the mainstream media’s disgusting partisan bias. There is an abundance of reasons to suspect, if not technical voting fraud, illicit efforts to make such fraud much easier, to the benefit of Democratic candidates.

5. In the end, however, SCOTUS was correct. As far as the results of this election is concerned, these matters are moot. No American election is ever going to be reversed after the vote are in. Cheating works in politics. Once it’s worked, it can’t be undone. Republicans know this as well as Democrats, and both parties, given the opportunity, will cheat. It is the duty of each party to prevent the other from stealing elections, and to do it before election day, not after.

____________________

Sources: Just the News; PJ Media

14 thoughts on “Observations On The Michigan Court of Claims Ruling That The State’s Election Rules Were Illegally Changed By Its Democratic Secretary Of State

  1. Thanks Jack. This perfectly encapsulates my view of what happened. I’d only add that COVID 19 in the context of a very close election guaranteed ugly controversy. If the rules stayed the same without regard to COVID, Republicans would have likely done better because Democrats are disproportionately scared of the virus. So maybe a narrow Trump electoral win and Republican control of Congress with depressed turnout while Trump lost the popular vote (again).

  2. While it’s true that any idea of changing the outcome of the past is a pipe dream, I disagree that the Supreme Court’s shrug of ‘it doesn’t matter now’ is in any way useful. If rules were broken, if games were played, I would personally like to see every one of those shifty events dragged out into the street, documented, and punished accordingly, so that they cannot simply be repeated going forward. If this election’s combination of “You can’t press charges because you have no standing/you have no standing because nothing has happened yet” and “Well, now that it’s happened, what do you want us to do about it?” gains a dimension of “this has happened every election for the last 20 years, and no court ever did anything about it, so stop complaining already” then I shall scream.

    • So, what is Jocelyn Benson’s punishment? If she doesn’t do her job correctly, she should be dismissed or punished in some way !!!!!!!!!

  3. 3. “That amounted to incompetence and failure of responsibility and civic duty by the Republican Party.”

    The cynic in me thinks that the Republicans tanked the election so that they could complain about Democrat chicanery that Trump got hosed but in the shadows nodded their heads because they got rid of Orange Man Bad.

    jvb.

    • The cynic in me thinks CERTAIN Republicans did just a bit too little, a bit too late in certain key places to change the results of the election. The cynic in me also thinks that just enough Republicans bought into what the Never Trumpers and the Lincoln Project hucksters were selling to change the results. Trump got a lot done in terms of judges and the economy (and the vaccine is due in large part to his efforts), but he was WILDLY unpopular with a lot of the party establishment and a lightning rod for all the worst in the other side. The party establishment is also annoyed that he essentially scared them into accepting him as the nominee and then president, because they were all terrified he would run third party and sink them. They are banking that his health will deteriorate, his legal troubles will render him unviable, or he will die before 2024. Then they can go back to carrying water for big business and big finance and getting well paid under the table, while America’s cities fall to crap and the middle class disappears.

    • Can we be real for a second?

      Orange Man was Bad. He didn’t deserve half the criticism he got, and the people criticizing him were often hypocrites…. But the half that he deserved was still bloody awful.

      Hundreds of thousands of voters voted Biden, and then left the rest of the ballot blank. Millions voted Biden, and then straight-ticket Republicans downballot. This election was a borderline disaster for Democrats (particularly before the Georgia runoffs) everywhere except the presidency.

      • Orange Man was Bad. He didn’t deserve half the criticism he got, and the people criticizing him were often hypocrites…. But the half that he deserved was still bloody awful.

        I think that’s pretty much correct, if we don’t debate policy. I would only add that he would have been a lot better if he had been treated fairly, and had the minimal base-line good will of the news media and public that every President has been able to count on.

  4. “2. The cases in Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia do show that the Democratic Party stretched, distorted and broke laws to get an illicit advantage in those states, creating a rebuttable presumption that more of the same effected the vote totals in other states.

    In short, they cheated.

    3. As it was obvious early on that this was the grand plan behind Democrats using the pandemic as an excuse to expand mail-in voting, with all the opportunities that process presents for chicanery, vote harvesting and fraud, it is astounding that Republicans were so slow to raise legal challenges and to allow the strategy to go forward.”

    We *REALLY* need to start looking at this differently. Because it isn’t how they see it, and I think they’re closer to being right. The point isn’t corruption. Number three is just wrong. The Democrats aren’t doing this because they think they need fraud to win, they’re doing this because they think they need votes to win.

    In almost every market I can think of, two things are true:

    First: A variant of the Bradley effect exists. The Bradley effect describes a phenomenon where people *say* they’re going to vote for a progressive, (in the Bradley case in particular it was a black man,) because they are concerned with what the pollsters will think of them, (in the Bradley case, they didn’t want the pollsters to think they were racist,) but in the privacy of the polling booth, they’ll do what they really wanted to do all along. What I call a Bradley Variant needs two things: A lie to a pollster, and shame as a motivation for that lie. There is no doubt in my mind that people fully intending to vote Republican in 2020 lied to pollsters because the Republican brand was dealing with a Trump problem.

    So for the last 10 years, in almost every race, I’ve been attributing to the difference between polling numbers and results, where the polling numbers always discount the actual right-of-center results, to a mixture of Bradley variants and polling errors. I no longer think that this fully encapsulates the difference. Which leads me to…

    Second: Left-of-center parties do better when more people vote. We could write books on why that is, but the fact of the matter is it happens. Truth is that if every American voted, it would probably mean an absolute gutting of Republican governance because, again, for whatever reason, right-of-center supporters are more inclined to vote, and left-of-center supporters have a hard time breaking the inertia of their couch cushions, which means a lot of Democratic support is never counted.

    Which is why this isn’t about “chicanery, vote harvesting and fraud”, it’s about finding ways to enfranchise their voters. Fraud is an obvious result, but it’s a byproduct, not the goal, and it’s one they don’t care about. And frankly, I’d be more interested in hearing Republican gripes about voter fraud if half the time what they were doing wasn’t an obvious attempt to suppress the votes of demographics they don’t think will vote for them. At some point, it’s obvious that it isn’t about voting integrity so much as it’s about voting results, and the Republicans aren’t attempting to win votes so much as they’re trying to win on technicalities.

    If instead of voting through mail, these states had forced people to polling booths, those people probably would have gone to polling booths. But they were told by their state that if they mailed in those ballots, they would be counted. Unless you have a reason to think that *thousands* of votes were fraudulently cast, you aren’t arguing that these people did not support Biden, or that Biden didn’t have the support to win, you’re arguing that his supporters didn’t vote the right way, and their vote shouldn’t count. There’s only so long you can rules-lawyer your way to electoral victory before you find you can’t peel away enough votes on the margin and you start to just lose.

    • “it’s about finding ways to enfranchise their voters”

      Their voters are already enfranchised.

      Any efforts to drum up more votes for themselves are automatically dubious. Again…people who can’t be bothered to vote, shouldn’t. Not by any rational justification. If you can’t vacate your couch cushion, your opinions don’t matter.

  5. >It is the duty of each party to prevent the other from stealing elections, and to do it before election day, not after.

    The problem with this is that cheating is cheaper and yields a higher ROI that preventing the other guy from cheating. Unless there is a strong punishment for those caught cheating (in the order of jail time for party leaders or revocation of party registration for N years in lieu of actually overturning the outcome of the contested election) the result of these judgments will be more cheating instead of less.

  6. I’ve seen in asserted several times and it may be worthy of a discussion – but HR 1 has been claimed to be proof that the Democrats cheated, they knew they were cheating, and now they want to set in stone their ability to cheat with the protection of the law the next time.

    Thoughts?

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