Michigan Court of Appeals rejects appeal in lawsuit seeking to delay Wayne County election certification
On Monday, the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected the request to reverse a Wayne County Circuit Court judge's Friday ruling allowing the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to complete the audit of the November election and certify the county's election results by the Nov. 17 deadline as required under state law.
The lawsuit, filed by David Kallman on behalf of two Wayne County voters, asked the court to require an independent audit of the votes cast by Wayne County voters, separate from the one already being undertaken by the county's Board of Canvassers. The lawsuit also asked the court to void the Nov. 3 election and order a new one. President-elect Joe Biden won the county by a margin of nearly 323,000 votes.
The lawsuit rested on allegations that local election officials oversaw a fraudulent election in Detroit, focusing their claims on events that took place at the TCF Center where Detroit's election workers counted absentee ballots cast by the city's voters. In his Friday opinion, Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Kenny wrote that the account of Detroit's election process presented in the lawsuit was "incorrect and not credible" and denied the request to order an audit of the election.
On Friday, Kallman told the Free Press: "There were some points in the judge’s opinion that we don’t feel were factually accurate." In the application to appeal Kenny's order, Kallman pointed to the complaint and affidavits filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court to support the lawsuit's claims of election fraud.
In an affidavit filed with the Wayne County Circuit Court, Chris Thomas, the former director of elections for Michigan who served as a special adviser to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey during the election, said that the people who filed the affidavits confused standard election procedures with misconduct. Kenny wrote that the evidence provided by Thomas' account of the events that took place at the TCF was "compelling" and his background and experience working in a bipartisan manner was "persuasive."
Meanwhile, Kenny characterized one of the affidavits attached to the complaint as "rife with speculation and sinister motives."
In an application filed Monday, Kallman asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to grant immediate consideration of the request for an appeal. "Time is of the essence as the audit needs to occur prior to the election results being certified by the Wayne County Board of Canvassers. The deadline for certification is Tuesday, November 17, 2020," the application read.
The Michigan Court of Appeals order issued by a three-judge panel granted the motion for immediate consideration but denied the application for leave.
Kallman told the Free Press he plans to file an immediate appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court Tuesday morning. "I've learned a long time ago... you can have people of good will on both sides just disagreeing on an issue but it's ultimately the Supreme Court that rules." Kallman hopes the Supreme Court will grant immediate consideration before the Wayne County Board of Canvassers meets Tuesday at 3 p.m. to vote on certifying the county's election results.
Clara Hendrickson fact-checks Michigan issues and politics as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Contact Clara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-296-5743 for comments or to suggest a fact check.