SUCCESS: Michigan Voter Integrity Lawsuit Results in New Directive Empowering Poll Challengers
One day after vowing to fight a crucial voter integrity lawsuit in the courts, the Michigan attorney general’s office has conceded to demands that plaintiffs believe will clarify the role of poll challengers in the state.
The case was heard in the Michigan Court of Claims, which springs from shocking #DetroitLeaks revelations that show election workers cackling as their instructor explains how they will be able to use COVID-19 social distancing rules to disenfranchise poll challengers.
Attorneys Philip Ellison and Matt Gronda appeared on behalf of the plaintiffs, state representative candidate Stephen Carra and electoral integrity watchdog Bob Cushman. Assistant attorney general Erik Grill attended on behalf of Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel.
“At this point, your honor, I am happy to report that the parties and the attorneys have been working very diligently this morning to try and reach a resolution, and I’m happy to report that we have,” Gronda said.
He explained that the secretary of state’s office will be sending out an explicit notice before Oct. 29 at 5pm that makes clear the rights of poll challengers and watchers.
Gronda said that the new directive would be approximate to this: “Challengers and poll watchers have certain rights and responsibilities established by Michigan election law. Challengers and poll watchers are required to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth to the extent medically able to do so consistent with the MDHHS order and maintain social distancing while not performing their legal duties.”
“Challengers and poll watchers should maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and election workers and voters as reasonably possible. However, to the extent that it is necessary to temporarily stand in closer proximity to election workers, to have a challenge heard, to observe the poll book, or perform any other legal duty, challengers and poll watchers are permitted to do so, provided close personal interaction is as brief as possible,” the new directive continues.
“Once a challenge or necessary observation is complete, challengers and poll watchers should resume remaining six feet away from voters and poll workers,” the directive concludes. Gronda noted that the state would be entering into a binding written agreement with the plaintiffs.
Grill noted that the language used by Gronda would not be used in the official directive, showing that the AG’s office might not be acting in good faith while agreeing to this deal.
“We’re not committing to the specific language but in the substance of it. We were working about 15 minutes prior to this hearing so haste doesn’t usually lead to the most clear instructions so there will be some further refinement but fundamentally substantively…there shouldn’t be any problem,” he said.
“Thank you very much for working to resolve this amongst yourselves in the interests of the people of the state of Michigan,” Judge Cynthia Stevens said before concluding the proceedings.
The proceedings, which took place over Zoom, can be seen here (beginning at 9:44):
Big League Politics reported yesterday on how the AG’s office responded with initial hostility against the voter integrity lawsuit:
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is aggressively fighting back against legal efforts to ensure voter transparency in her state.
Nessel issued a brief on behalf of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater. Two conservative activists have filed a lawsuit against Benson and Brater to get an injunction on a state directive that disenfranchises poll challengers by forcing them to stay six feet behind poll workers at all times.
“The State of Michigan has a strong interest in protecting the health and safety of people when they are voting, and also in protecting the election workers while they perform their vital functions. The Secretary’s directive furthers that objective while also providing for challengers to perform their tasks,” Nessel wrote in her brief arguing to make poll challengers irrelevant.
Nessel attempted to claim that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit – state representative candidate Stephen Carra and electoral integrity watchdog Bob Cushman – have only “speculative and hypothetical” concerns because they are not directly impacted by the directive disenfranchising poll challengers. Nessel embarrassed herself by writing blatant falsehoods in her brief.
“Plaintiff Carra has no greater interest in a lawful election than any other citizen who likewise expects that people at polling locations will adhere to the laws,” she wrote.
“Cushman does not allege that he has been informed by any organization that he will be appointed as a challenger for the November 2020 election, or even from which organization he expects to be appointed. It should be noted that—at the time of filing this brief—less than 8 days remain before Election Day. Cushman’s alleged interest, therefore, remains speculative and renders his interests merely hypothetical,” Nessel added.
However, Cushman promptly produced his poll challenger credential for the court, proving Nessel’s brief to be filled with deceptions. He showed that he is an official poll challenger for election day certified by state Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox.
Even though the AG’s office has capitulated, they cannot be taken at their word. More poll challengers are needed to stop the steal that has been highlighted with the #DetroitLeaks and is happening not only in Michigan but also the entire country. The Trump campaign is recruiting poll challengers at DefendYourBallot.com.