Five suits now target Michigan’s election. One seeks to toss out 1.2M votes.

President Donald Trump says he would have won Michigan had it not been for election irregularities. Experts say the assertions are ridiculous and his lawsuits will fail. (Shutterstock image) 

One week after the election, Michigan remains a battleground state.

Now, it’s a key part of a long-shot attempt by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, with a Wayne County judge set to rule Friday on one request to halt the certification of ballots in the predominantly Democratic county. 

The decision is one of several facing judges in state and federal courts in select states nationwide. Five suits seek to upend Biden’s 147,000-vote win in Michigan, the largest among the states whose results are now being contested.

One new federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday with the U.S. District Court in west Michigan on behalf of four Michigan voters, contains no original allegation and rehashes other lawsuits as well as tweets and blog posts. It seeks to eliminate all of the votes in Wayne, Washtenaw and Ingham counties.

That would mean invalidating over 1.2 million votes from the election — or over 20 percent of the record 5.5 million votes cast in Michigan. It would also mean Trump, rather than losing by 147,000 votes, would win by over 322,000 votes.

He won the state in 2016 with 10,704 more votes than Hillary Cliton.

Invalidating an entire county’s votes, let alone three, has probably never been done, said Aghogho Edevbie, director of the Michigan chapter of All Voting is Local, a national voting-rights advocacy group. 

“I’ve never ever heard of a situation where ballots are thrown out as a remedy. Ever,” he said. “The reason is it would disenfranchise so many people. That’s why it’s never been done.”

The suit claims that votes statewide were “diluted” because absentee ballots were allegedly illegally counted in Detroit.

Jim Bopp, an Indiana attorney who filed the lawsuit, declined to spell out why Washtenaw or Ingham are targeted in the suit.

It’s “in the complaint,” Bopp wrote in a short email to Bridge Michigan. He’s part of True the Vote, a Texas-based group that describes itself as a voters rights organization.

But it’s not clear at all why Ingham is; there is no claim of any problem there. As to Washtenaw, the lawsuit’s only claim is that the county, like Wayne, has more registered voters than people old enough to vote. 

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Barb Byrum, a Democrat and clerk of Ingham County. “This is not one of [Trump’s] Miss Universe pageants where he gets to decide who wins. Because in Michigan every vote counts.”

Many counties in Michigan have more registered voters than people old enough to vote, including Republican ones such as Otsego and Kalkaska, both of whose voting rolls have 15 percent more “voters” than residents of voting age.

That could be the result of several factors, including outdated census data and voter files that haven’t been updated when residents die. Federal law mandates a delay before some voter registrations are canceled, and delays have never been “credibly linked to illegal voting on any substantial scale,” a Michigan state spokesperson told Bridge Michigan in July.

Already, judges across the state have knocked down two lawsuits. Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny denied one request to stall the certification, and a Michigan Court of Claims judge rejected an earlier request to halt the count because the suit was based on hearsay evidence and was unlikely to prevail.

The lawsuits have covered so many similar allegations that David Fink, an attorney for the City of Detroit, joked this week that “this is starting to seem like ‘Groundhog Day,’ but unlike ‘Groundhog Day,’ this isn’t funny at all.”

The suits claim Republican poll challengers were not allowed to get close enough to see the counting process and that some were removed from the TCF Center in Detroit, where absentee ballots were processed. Others claimed that ballots were wrongly duplicated or different names were put into computer records than were on the ballot envelope.

One lawsuit even alleged a dead man voted; but it turns out the deceased was removed from the voter rolls years ago and has not, in fact, voted.

And Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims was exasperated when an attorney failed to acknowledge that one of the complaints was based on second-hand information known as hearsay.

She rejected the case.

Chris Thomas, the retired director of elections for Secretary of State, worked with Detroit during the election and has filed an affidavit saying most of the accusations reflect a lack of knowledge with how elections work.

But Ruth Johnson, a former secretary of state who is now a Republican state senator, filed an affidavit saying accusations are “very concerning” to her and “require court intervention.”

“Based upon my review of these documents, I believe that it would be proper for an independent audit to be conducted as soon as possible to ensure the accuracy and integrity of this election,” she wrote.

Last week, however, she told Bridge that despite the problems, and her knowledge of Detroit’s past problems with elections, they wouldn’t produce a change in votes that would undo Biden’s victory. 

“I think it would be an awful tall mountain to climb,” she said.

On Friday, Kenny will decide whether the plaintiffs can at least start climbing that mountain. 

At noon, the judge is expected to issue an opinion on whether to allow a case to proceed that seeks to delay the certification of Wayne County’s election results.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


An American Patriot
Thu, 11/12/2020 - 6:56pm

If this happens? This liberal will be picking up his potato launcher and heading to the capitol building!

Does anyone else remember being told we were sore losers for the last four years?

Now we know who the sore losers really are!

{{{Jim Bopp, an Indiana attorney who filed the lawsuit, declined to spell out why Washtenaw or Ingham are targeted in the suit.

It’s “in the complaint,” Bopp wrote in a short email to Bridge Michigan. He’s part of True the Vote, a Texas-based group that describes itself as a voters rights organization.}}}

Who, being part of an organization that says they are a voters rights organization, would disenfranchise all the voters of 3 of the largest counties in the State? A fake! That's who.

And why? Because there are more registered voters than there are people old enough to vote? Hello? Common sense? Can you hear me? Is there anyone home? How many people voted? Less than those eligible? Well then.

Maybe it IS time to make those who file frivolous lawsuits pay a penalty.

Let's make that example with these clowns and those who filed false affidavits and put an end to it.

That would be law and order, wouldn't it?

Cheeto Satan lost
Fri, 11/13/2020 - 11:34am

All of these lawsuits are part of a full-on campaign to try to get Republican legislatures to send a Trump slate of electors or to lay the groundwork for 4 years of "the election was stolen" BS so Cheeto Satan can run again. Disenfranchise millions of voters for their autocratic idol? Too many Republicans are willing to sacrifice democracy and do so, or too afraid to stand up to the QAnon morons who are starting to control their party.

But to your point of making an example of these clowns, why not treat this like the PR nonsense it is and engage on the campaign battlefield? The plaintiffs in this case have signed their names to the complaint. Lena Bally and Gavriel Grossbard from Oakland County, Steven Butler from Jackson County, and Carol Hatch of Eaton County. As someone from Ingham County whose vote they want to nullify, I'd love to see some campaign-style "issue" advertising run on TV. Here's my ad copy:

"Lena Bally of 1234 Wisteria Lane, Anytown, Oakland County wants to take away YOUR vote and your rights. Call her at 555-555-5555 and ask her why she hates democracy."

Why should these cockroaches be allowed to hide in the darkness? They made their choice to be part of a lawsuit. Unlike the supposed dead voters, they can actually be identified.

Leave Orange Baby!
Sat, 11/14/2020 - 12:22am

Interesting, but we can walk and chew gum at the same time. How about we write to Dana Nessel to prosecute them for perjury? After all, there are consequences for filing frivolous lawsuits and false police reports.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 2:33am

Why do we even bother having elections now that Trump has been installed by Russia? They seem to be an expensive waste of time.

Rump lies, Peop...
Sat, 11/14/2020 - 12:24am

When Trump won with the same electoral votes that Biden amassed, he called it a landslide! Not so much now.

you know...
Sat, 11/14/2020 - 11:31am

the left spend 3 years and millions of dollars disproving Russia gate

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 4:41pm

No common sense. Unbelievable, Complete lack of self-awareness. complete lack of self-awareness. I watch the vote counters kicking out Republicans in Detroit. Republicans in Detroit.I also heard them calling people racial slurs on the way out. I also saw them screaming at them and laughing. It never ceases to amaze me how liberals act like conservatives are racist. Give me a break

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 2:38am

Ruth Johnson? LOL

Beautiful Montage
Fri, 11/13/2020 - 8:31am

Something special to share this Thanksgiving season with your blowhard GOP relatives:

In 2016, Republicans Called Democrats 'Sore Losers' After Election | Morning Joe | MSNBC

All THAT when Clinton waited ONE day to concede the election to Trump. Such Godless hypocrites from Trump on down to all our local GOP sycophant politicians. They are all completely shameless. So let's just have a little holiday fun ridiculing their sorry pathetic egos.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 8:35am

Why is Ruth Johnson calling for an audit? Dear Ruth, you're not the Secretary of State anymore. Thanks for your service, now go back and play with your grandkids.

She's a johnson
Sat, 11/14/2020 - 12:27am

Yeah, and the results have not even been certified yet. Doesn't she know the law after being on the government dole so long?

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 10:22am

'Elect a clown, get a circus'. Yup. that's what we have here. Clowns for 'lawyers'.
This kind of nonsense should have some penalty. Our courts are busy enough with this kind of utter nonsense.

Lock them up!
Sat, 11/14/2020 - 12:30am

Ghoulyani alone is a one-man circus. Too many fools and conmen are being taken seriously, but what really scares me is the extent to which the GOP in Michigan chooses to hitch their RV's to those monstertrucks.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 11:16am

My, my...Republicans "believe" in the integrity of voting but only for themselves. What a bunch of election frauds!

Perhaps it is time for the Courts to tell off the anti voting maggots like the clown who wants to disenfranchise all voters in Washtenaw, Wayne and Ingham counties. In fact, perhaps it would be good if the courts held the clowns financially liable for their frivolous actions or send their particulars to relevant legal licensing agencies to site them for violating legal ethics and suspending their licenses to practice law.

GOP, Step Up for USA
Fri, 11/13/2020 - 11:37am

It's nice in a way not to hear from Trump all the time, but this farce has gone on long enough. Our enemies smell weakness and vulnerability, let alone our leaderless exposure to the pandemic.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 12:04pm

It's comical Trump and the GOP allege "irregularities" when everything about their God-Trump has been irregular for four years. He's even considering pardoning himself.

Oh Lord
Sat, 11/14/2020 - 12:32am

An admission of guilt, right?

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 1:42pm

I would be looking for instances of a judge, a governor, a mayor, an election official, or anyone other than the legislature changing the rules of the election, such as extending a deadline, or changing the criteria for accepting or rejecting a ballot. That would be a violation of Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution and could be reason to invalidate aa group of ballots.

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 3:25pm

Trump will ask the US Senate who wins. (I guess this site only wants liberal comments)

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 6:46am

Hire a clown get a circus. How appropriate. The sooner we get the clown gone the better. Every day seems like a bad dream. Hippocrits abound. God help us. R.L.

Marjorie Haas
Sun, 11/15/2020 - 12:27pm

Thank you Danielle McGuire for your excellent in-depth account as a vote "challenger."

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 1:21pm

If you've lived long enough you know karma is real...

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 9:17pm

It would be good for BridgeMI to create a short summary of the different suits that have been filed and which are still active, who is behind them, and any links to additional info. It's hard to keep track otherwise.