The Michigan Courts have finally vindicated one of President Donald Trump’s election violation claims.
The court ruled that the Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson violated the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act (APA) when she unilaterally issued changes for how to consider absentee ballots in Michigan.
The judge held that she was required to go through the state legislature that she didn’t have the right to just make unilateral changes on her own.
The issues involved such things as sending absentee ballot applications to all registered voters and then how absentee ballots should be considered. This affected things such as judging whether the signature verification was valid. Michigan requires a signature on the application for the absentee ballot and a signature on the return ballot envelope. Those are then matched against the signature on file.
Benson issued a directive to officials doing the evaluation to “presume the validity” of the signatures. She also said they were to be held valid if there was any similarity at all in the signatures, regardless of problems or dissimilarities.
The Court chided Benson, noting that this was not in accordance with the state election law.
To that end, 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 signature as compared with the signature on file. Policy determinations like the one at issue—which places a 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.
So basically the Court upheld Trump campaign’s point about the Secretary of State changing the rules unilaterally and because of that counting potentially invalid votes.
Republicans felt justified by the decision that the Secretary of State didn’t just get to make up her own (or the Democrats’ own rules).
“I’m glad the court sees Secretary of State Benson’s attempts at lawmaking for what they are — clear violations of her authority,” Michigan state Rep. Matt Hall (R) said in a statement.
“If she wants to make changes like these, she needs to work with the Legislature or properly promulgate them through the laws we have on the books — in this case the Administrative Procedures Act,” he continued.
But unfortunately, of course, now it’s too late to make any difference in the November election. The suit was filed in October of last year but not decided until this month. This wasn’t the only state in which there was an issue of election officials acting without the authority of the state legislature, for example, another such claim was made in Pennsylvania.