Trump campaign lawyers are all grinning from ear-to-ear and exclaiming “I told you so!” Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson really did usurp legislative authority and broke the law when she issued a very controversial set of guidelines concerning absentee ballots ahead of the 2020 election. The court just confirmed it.
Court agrees with Trump
Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray ruled this week that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson “broke state law” when she issued new rules making absentee balloting easier to compromise ahead of the 2020 election debacle.
The way county clerks were ordered to interpret the rules, pretty much any signature which contained all the right letters, in mostly the right order, was valid to count.
The court was troubled that Benson’s orders “concerned instructions on what constitutes a ‘match’ for verification signatures. That’s a point that Team Trump has been arguing all along.
Murray decided that “Benson should not have issued the orders and, in doing so, violated the state’s Administrative Procedures Act.” That’s illegal.
The whole purpose behind the controversial guidance document, the court writes, “was to ‘provide standards’ for reviewing signatures, verifying signatures, and curing missing or mismatched signatures.”
Specifically, under the heading “Procedures for Signature Verification,” the document stated “that signature review begins with the presumption that the signature on an absent voter ballot application or envelope is valid.” Wrong.
Nowhere in state law
That presumption of ballot integrity is nothing but a Democrat fantasy. As noted by the court, “the presumption is found nowhere in state law.
The mandatory presumption goes beyond the realm of mere advice and direction, and instead is a substantive directive that adds to the pertinent signature-matching standards.” That’s a no-no.
Secretary of State Benson also tried to water down the safeguards by advising the election clerks that if there are “any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope signature as compared to the signature on file, treat the signature as valid.” The court disagrees.
She defines those “redeeming qualities” as including, but not being limited to, “similar distinctive flourishes,” and “more matching features than non-matching features.” That way all amateur forgers have to do is get it close to right.
The court wasn’t happy with Benson’s guidance that Signatures should only be considered “questionable” if they had glaringly obvious issues, for instance, they had to differ “in multiple, significant and obvious respects from the signature on file.”
Any doubt meant count the ballot when it should have triggered the opposite and been excluded.”Whenever possible,” election officials were to resolve “slight dissimilarities” in favor of finding that the voter’s signature was valid.