Citing state audit, judge denies request for separate Wayne County election audit

December 8, 2020 in News, Video by RBN Staff

source:  freep

 What appeared to be a final long shot effort to change the outcome of Michigan’s presidential election results faltered Tuesday when a Wayne County Circuit Court judge denied a request that the county clerk immediately conduct an audit of the election results.

Chief Judge Timothy Kenny called the request “premature” since Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has already announced a post-election performance audit of Wayne County.

On Dec. 8, Judge Timothy Kenny rejected the request for an immediate audit of Wayne County's election results.

In 2018, Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to a statewide audit of the election results. Voters have “the right to have the results of statewide elections audited in such a manner as prescribed by law to ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections,” the state’s constitution reads. The Michigan Legislature amended Michigan election law to lay out a process for such an audit.

In denying the request for an immediate audit, Kenny wrote that the law does not give county clerks the authority to undertake an audit independent of the Secretary of State’s Office and does not specify a timeline for initiating and completing such an audit.

The lawsuit, filed by two Wayne County residents, alleged that local election officials oversaw a fraudulent election and initially sought to delay the certification of Wayne County’s election results until an audit could occur. In a Nov. 13 opinion, Kenny denied the request to delay the certification and called the lawsuit’s account of fraud and misconduct “incorrect and not credible.”

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After the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court rejected requests to repeal the lower court’s ruling, David Kallman, the attorney representing the Wayne County residents, asked the Wayne County Circuit Court to order county’s clerk to conduct an audit of the results.

During a Dec. 3 hearing, Kallman said it was important for the court to act quickly. “If there’s a results audit and it determines there were some inaccuracies or there was some lack of integrity in the process, come next week it’s going to kind of be a moot point,” he said.

At several points during last week’s hearing, Kenny pressed Kallman on the request for the court to act urgently. At one point, he asked whether Kallman was seeking to stop a certified election from moving forward. “You really are looking to change the results are you not?” Kenny asked. Kallman responded, “I don’t know what the results are going to be. It could come back and maybe Mr. Biden gets more votes.”

Under federal law, Michigan must resolve any legal disputes regarding the appointment of its presidential electors on Tuesday in order to require Congress to accept its slate of electors as final. On Monday, the state’s presidential electors will convene in Lansing to cast the state’s Electoral College votes.