Michigan state court rejects request to block Detroit election certification results

Tom Hals and Makini Brice, Reuters

Posted at Nov 14 2020 04:38 AM

Michigan state court rejects request to block Detroit election certification results 1
Votes are counted at the TCF Center the day after the 2020 US presidential election, in Detroit, Michigan, on November 4, 2020. Shannon Stapleton, Reuters/File Photo

A Michigan state court rejected on Friday a request by supporters of US President Donald Trump to block the certification of votes and appoint an independent auditor in Detroit, which went heavily in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic challenger.

The ruling is a setback for Trump and Republicans who have been trying to overturn Biden's victory in the Nov. 3 election by preventing officials from certifying election results.

"It would be an unprecedented exercise of judicial activism for this Court to stop the certification process of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers," wrote Timothy Kenny, chief judge of the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, referring to the county that includes Detroit.

The lawsuit alleged fraud and voting irregularities, which Wayne County has denied.

The judge rejected those allegations, writing: "Plaintiffs' interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible."

He noted that allegations, such as city workers encouraging voters to cast their ballot for Democrats, were not backed up by details, such as locations or times when such events took place.

The judge also said that one witness who had filed an affidavit had posted on Facebook before the election that he speculated that Democrats were using the pandemic as cover for election fraud, undermining his testimony and credibility.

On Wednesday, the Trump campaign filed a similar lawsuit in US District Court in the Western District of Michigan.

The campaign and Republicans have also sued in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin seeking to block the certification of election results.

Legal scholars have said lawsuits challenging election results are more appropriate for state court, and the ruling by the Wayne County Circuit Court could undermine the Trump campaign efforts in federal court.

Michigan is due to certify its election results on Nov. 23. 

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