Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan Supreme Court ruling keeps Benson’s poll challenger rules in place

By: - November 3, 2022 2:06 pm
Michigan's Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court, March 22, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

Less than a week before the election, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Secretary of State and election clerks will continue to follow the poll challenger guidance put in place by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson earlier this year. 

Last month, a Michigan Court of Claims judge blocked a number of the rules Benson issued in May, saying that her rules did not comply with state election law. 

That decision was appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, but the court did not resolve the state’s emergency motions by the resolution date. Benson’s legal team then asked the state Supreme Court for a stay on the lower court’s order.

Benson’s guidance will likely be in place for Tuesday’s election as the appeal process continues.

“We’ve long been confident in the legality of the Michigan Bureau of Elections’ guidelines surrounding election challengers and their rightful balance providing transparency while protecting voters and poll workers from disruptions and intimidation,” Benson, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday. 

Some of the challenged rules include credentialing mandates for challengers, bans on cell phones while overseeing absentee counting boards and some communication restrictions.

Benson’s Tuesday opponent, Republican Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo filed a lawsuit last month to require Detroit voters to vote in person or at a county clerk’s office, saying Detroit’s absentee voter counting board has “many problems that cannot be remedied.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers 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.