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Election Updates from the Goodman Acker Team

1. Lawsuits: There are now 6 lawsuits in state and federal courts brought by Trump or his allies making allegations of irregularities and fraud in Detroit election procedures, principally the counting of absentee votes at the TCF (formerly Cobo) Center on Nov. 3-4. The lawsuits seek relief ranging from blocking certification of the vote to an audit to discarding all of Wayne County’s votes. Relief has been denied in all 4 state court lawsuits, most importantly on Friday when Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge Kenney refused to block certification or order an audit. In a strong decision he denied all the claims, specifically rejecting all the factual allegations of fraud and irregularities. There has been no activity in the 2 federal court lawsuits which make virtually identical claims to those dismissed by Judge Kenney.

2. County Boards of Canvassers: These bipartisan boards (2 R, 2 D) have been reviewing the paperwork from every precinct in their respective counties since Nov. 4. They must complete their work and certify the results to the Board of State Canvasser by Nov. 17.  Most boards have certified but several large counties including Genesee, Kent, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, and Wayne will not finish until next week.

3. Board of State Canvassers: This bipartisan board (2 R, 2 D) is scheduled to meet Nov. 23 to officially certify the statewide election results based on the county certifications in what has been a formality in the past. The 2 GOP members of the Board have so far refused to publicly commit to certify a Biden victory. There are judicial remedies if the Board fails to certify. Once this Board certifies the Biden electors are officially elected, their names will be transmitted to Washington D.C., and they will meet on December 14 in Lansing to vote for President and Vice-President. A losing candidate has 48 hours after the Board certifies to ask for a recount.

4. Joint Legislative Oversight Committee: For the first time the Legislature has created a post-election joint oversight committee with subpoena power. It has subpoenaed records from Benson on the mailings her office made to encourage voter registration and absentee voting. It may issue other subpoenas and hold hearings although the Legislature has now recessed for its annual deer hunting/Thanksgiving break. Separately 2 GOP Senators have asked for an audit of the election results before they are certified by the Board of State Canvassers. There is no authority in state law allowing that.

5. Legislative Appointment of GOP Electors: This possibility has been discussed inside the GOP legislative caucuses and press reports indicate that the Trump campaign has asked for it. It is possible that the lawsuits, oversight committee, and other activities could be laying the groundwork for this despite the denials of the legislative leadership. If it occurs there will be litigation as well as public opposition.

Hope your Friday the 13th in the middle of the COVID year is safe.