Advance Notice: Briefs

Karamo files long-shot lawsuit to require Detroit residents to vote in person

By: - October 28, 2022 10:13 am

Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock and SOS nominee Kristina Karamo at the Michigan Republican Party Endorsement Convention, April 23, 2022 | Allison R. Donahue

GOP Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo filed a lawsuit Wednesday to require Detroit voters to vote in person or obtain their ballots in person at the clerk’s office.

“This is the only valid process of identity in the statute because the [Michigan secretary of state] failed to promulgate a signature comparison rule,” the lawsuit says.

Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is up against Karamo in the Nov. 8 election, proposed changes to how the state verifies signatures earlier this year, but the GOP-led Legislature hasn’t taken action to adopt the rules before they take effect in late December.

In 2018, voters approved Proposal 3, known as the Promote the Vote constitutional amendment, which allows same-day voter registration and no-reason absentee voting. Karamo’s lawsuit would likely be in violation of these changes to Michigan’s election process.

Your guide to the election deniers running in top Michigan races on Nov. 8

The suit, which was filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court, seems to be a continuation of the efforts to delegitimize the 2020 election when former President Donald Trump refused to accept the results of the election and confuse voters.

Karamo was among Republicans who falsely claimed there was voter fraud in Detroit in 2020. There also was an attempt by GOP officials not to certify Wayne County’s election results. Both Detroit and Wayne County voted heavily for President Joe Biden.

Biden beat Trump in Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, but his supporters, including Karamo and the Election Integrity Fund and Force, another plaintiff listed on the suit, have continued to sow doubt in Michigan’s election system. 

An investigation by the state GOP-led Senate Oversight Committee, as well as a number of failed lawsuits and more than 250 audits, have concluded that there was not widespread voter fraud in Michigan. 

The lawsuit also asks to disqualify all of the Wayne County Circuit Court judges from handling the case and asks for a visiting judge to intervene.

The suit says Detroit’s absentee voter counting board has “many problems that cannot be remedied.”

“As it is an optional process, it must be sent to the scrap heap of history,” the lawsuit reads.

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and the Detroit board of election inspectors are the defendants in the lawsuit.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.