Michigan Judge Denies Trump Campaign Relief in Ballot Count Lawsuit

November 5, 2020 Updated: November 5, 2020

A Michigan judge on Thursday denied a request by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign seeking “meaningful access” to view the handling of absentee ballots.

Judge Cynthia Stephens said the lawsuit was filed around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. The judge also noted that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.

In this case, the Trump campaign sought to halt counting in the state until “until meaningful access has been granted” to view the handling of absentee ballots. The campaign claimed that Benson was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. They accused her of undermining the “constitutional right of all Michigan voters … to participate in fair and lawful elections.”

“These Michigan citizens’ constitutional rights are being violated by Secretary Benson’s failure to prevent unlawful ballots to be processed and her failure to ensure that statutorily-authorized challengers have a right to do their job,” the lawsuit (pdf) stated.

Benson denied the allegations.

“As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be. President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Associated Press, Decision Desk, and other media have projected Biden as the winner of Michigan, which has 16 electoral votes.

The Trump campaign mounted legal challenges in Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and in Nevada on Thursday morning. The judge in Georgia dismissed the case there without providing a reason. Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania judge ruled in favor of guaranteeing Republican observers the right to watch ballot counts from no more than six feet away.

Meanwhile, the campaign has also filed a motion in a pending Supreme Court case—cited as Republican Party v. Boockvar—to allow Trump to join in the case. It challenges a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that requires election officials to accept absentee ballots received up to three days after Nov. 3.

A number of justices on the court have signaled that it was open to reviewing the case.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

On Thursday morning, the election remained undecided as several battleground states such as Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Georgia were still counting votes. Trump on Wednesday evening declared victory in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead,” Trump wrote.

No news outlets or organizations have declared the states for Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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