In the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day, the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society filed an explosive election lawsuit asking Michigan’s Supreme Court to prevent Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson from certifying the election results until the Michigan legislature can fully investigate fraud claims and to force election officials to hand over all election materials to the legislature for this purpose. The lawsuit claims that officials illegally counted or threw out no fewer than 508,016 ballots, far more than Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote margin over Donald Trump.
“State and local officials brazenly violated election laws in order to advance a partisan political agenda,” Phil Kline, director of The Amistad Project, said in a statement. “The pattern of lawlessness was so pervasive and widespread that it deprived the people of Michigan of a free and fair election, throwing the integrity of the entire process into question.”
The Amistad Project is representing two female Michigan voters, Angelic Johnson and Linda Lee Tarver, who claim that election officials effectively robbed them of their votes by illegally undermining a fair election. In an interview with PJ Media, Ian Northon, an attorney representing Johnson and Tarver, explained the seven types of illegal counting the lawsuit alleges.
Citing state records, the lawsuit claims that Benson’s office sent out 355,392 unsolicited ballots. Northon explained that Michigan law requires two signatures for absentee voting: a signature on an application form and a signature on the security sleeve for the ballot. In this election, officials mailed out more than 300,000 ballots that no one had requested.
“They didn’t request them. You’ve just flooded the market with unsolicited ballots. No good can come of that,” Northon insisted.
Perhaps more concerning, almost 30,000 voters said they had sent in absentee ballots but Michigan’s voting records show those ballots were not counted. The lawyer explained that Matthew Brainard conducted a survey and found “29,682 people said they requested a ballot, said they voted, and their ballot wasn’t counted. The state’s records show it wasn’t counted.”
Why did their ballots not make it to the final tally? Northon said the Amistad Project has “more than three dozen affidavits” testifying that officials threw out ballots when they did not like the result. It is unclear whether or not the officials threw out ballots for Trump while counting ballots for Biden, but “when government officials are not following the laws as written, you’ve got a problem.”
Michigan officials counted another 35,109 ballots that were not associated with any address. This statistic is nothing short of mindboggling. According to Northon, voters “were sent an absentee ballot, but there’s no address on file. They voted. That violates the law.”
Michigan officials also counted 13,248 ballots cast by individuals who were registered to vote in another state. They also counted 317 ballots from people who voted more than once and 259 ballots from voters who listed only an email address instead of a physical address. Finally, election officials mailed out at least 74,000 absentee ballots that voters requested online.
“The statute requires a signature, all they’re doing is checking a box,” Northon explained.
These illegal tabulations and omissions add up to more than three times the margin of victory in the State of Michigan. While it is far from clear whether or not the alleged illegal tabulations helped Biden clinch victory in the Wolverine State, the allegations are disturbing nonetheless.
Due to these and other alleged violations of state law, the lawsuit asks Michigan’s Supreme Court to “take immediate custody and control of all ballots, ballot boxes, poll books, and other indicia of the Election from Respondents or their designees to prevent spoliation or destruction, to prevent further irregularities, and to ensure that the Michigan Legislature and this Court have a chance to perform a constitutionally sound audit of individual votes.”
The lawsuit also asks the court to segregate illegal ballots, declare that Benson “violated Petitioners’ fundamental constitutional rights,” declare Benson’s ballot scheme illegal, enjoin Benson or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) from certifying the election results, or appoint a special master or committee from the Michigan legislature to “investigate all claims of mistake, irregularity, and fraud at the TCF Center” in Detroit.
The lawsuit also raises two disturbing claims regarding the way Michigan officials managed the 2020 election.
In September, the Detroit City Council approved a $1 million contract for the staffing firm P.I.E. Management to hire up to 2,000 workers to work the polls and staff the ballot-counting machines at the TCF Center. P.I.E. Management reportedly paid temporary workers at least $50 per hour, far above rates at most rural communities. The lawsuit claims that this money came from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg through the group CTCL, “which paid over $400 million nationwide to Democrat-favoring election officials and municipalities.”
Perhaps even more disturbingly, Northon told PJ Media that Benson gave sensitive voter data to the left-leaning activist group Rock the Vote. Benson partnered with Rock the Vote in order to enable groups to register new voters. Yet in doing so, she may have put voter information at risk.
Benson gave Rock the Vote voters’ “eye color, social security number, and birthday” through the program, Northon told PJ Media. He referenced a December 2019 report from the auditor-general of Michigan, which found that “too many people had full access or improper access to the qualified voting records.”
“When you try to increase the franchise, when you try to get people to vote, you have to do it lawfully,” Northon insisted.
Rather than addressing these very real concerns, officials are “trying to hurry up and move this along. They don’t want a second look.”
Yet The Amistad Project filed the lawsuit directly to the Michigan Supreme Court because “an audit six months later doesn’t do anybody any good.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.