Judge dumps pro-Trump suit to stop Wayne Co. election certification, says claims are ‘not credible’

By: - November 13, 2020 4:11 pm

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Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny on Friday rejected a lawsuit asking to stop the canvassing and certification of Wayne County’s election results. He also denied a request for an independent audit of the county’s results. 

“No formal challenges were filed. However, sinister, fraudulent motives were ascribed to the process and the city of Detroit,” Kenny wrote in an opinion. “Plaintiff’s interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible.”

The suit, which was filed by the Great Lakes Justice Center (GLJC,) also called for an order to void the county’s results and a call for a new election in Michigan’s most populous county, which voted for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden 68% to 31% for GOP President Donald Trump. 

Trump’s campaign and his allies have filed a number of suits alleging voting irregularities in several key states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona, but they have not proved voter fraud and have seen their cases tossed.

Michigan GOP legislative leadership still silent on Biden win

The Associated Press on Nov. 4 declared Biden the winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes. Biden leads Trump by about 150,000 votes in unofficial Secretary of State returns, or a 3% margin. On Saturday, AP declared Biden president-elect as he exceeded the requisite  270 votes in the Electoral College. 

Both Jocelyn Benson, Michigan secretary of state, and Dana Nessel, Michigan attorney general, have stated in recent days that the election process has run relatively smoothly. 

Former state Sen. Pat Colbeck (R-Canton), a failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate, was an observer at the TCF Center ballot counting and also spoke at a pro-Trump rally in Detroit last week.

Colbeck filed an affidavit claiming the TCF Center computers were connected to the internet. Kenny said there was “no evidence” of that.

Kenny also noted in his opinion that Colbeck had posted on Facebook before the election that “Democrats were using COVID as a cover for Election Day fraud.”

“His predilection to believe fraud was occurring undermines his credibility as a witness,” Kenny writes.

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Other allegations in the GLJC lawsuit include: 

  • Ballots were counted even though the voter’s name did not appear in the official voter rolls.
  • 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.
  • Election workers processed ballots that appeared after the election deadline and falsely reported that those ballots had been received prior to Nov. 3 deadline.
  • Defendants “coached” voters to vote for Joe Biden.
  • Election workers would go to the voting booths with voters to watch them vote and coach them for whom to vote.

Upon filing the suit, David Kallman of GLJC described the Wayne County process as having “widespread fraud in the counting and processing of voter ballots.” 

“Michigan citizens are entitled to know that their elections are conducted in a fair and legal manner and that every legal vote is properly counted,” Kallman said. 

However, Chris Thomas, a former state Bureau of Elections chief who served under Democrats and Republicans, said on Nov. 4 that no one party had an advantage over the other and it was fair. Thomas has served as an adviser to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. 

It is the third of four filed in the past week challenging Michigan’s vote counting process, in Detroit, in particular. Kenny had denied an earlier request centering on the absentee ballot count at the TCF Center in Detroit. In that case, Kenny said allegations of unfair ballot counting were “mere speculation.” In another case, a Michigan Court of Claims judge rejected a request to stop the count.

Meanwhile, the outstanding lawsuit filed in Michigan federal court by Trump’s reelection campaign alleges that more than 100 people allege problems in the processing and counting of ballots in Detroit. However, as the Washington Post noted, the Trump campaign does not show any evidence of fraud.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.