Michigan Judge Ends Trump Backers’ Bid to Toss Detroit Votes

A Michigan judge rejected a lawsuit by supporters of President Donald Trump seeking to block certification of the election results in Detroit and surrounding Wayne County, ruling claims that counting of ballots there was plagued by widespread fraud were groundless.

Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny ruled Friday that the suit failed to show why he should halt the certification or order an audit of the vote tally in Michigan’s largest city, which voted heavily in favor of President-Elect Joe Biden. Major media outlets declared Biden the winner of Michigan and its 16 electoral votes last week, and he leads the vote count by more than 146,000 votes.

Kenny analyzed several affidavits claiming widespread fraud at the TCF Center in Detroit, and criticized them as either “rife with speculation and guess-work about sinister motives,” an example of “generalized speculation,” or “not credible.” He said their expert “paled in comparison” to the city’s expert, Christopher Thomas, a former state director of elections.

“Plaintiffs rely on numerous affidavits from election challengers who paint a picture of sinister fraudulent activities occurring both openly in the TCF Center and under the cloak of darkness,” Kenny wrote in a 13-page opinion. “The challengers’ conclusions are decidedly contradicted by the highly respected” Thomas.

By not attending an Oct. 29 training session, the complaining challengers “did not have a full understanding of the TCF absent ballot tabulation process,” according to the judge.

“No formal challenges were filed,” Kenny wrote. “However, sinister, fraudulent motives were ascribed to the process and the city of Detroit. Plaintiffs’ interpretation of events is incorrect and not credible.”

The Trump campaign has filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in Michigan seeking to halt certification of the state’s results based on allegations of fraud, largely in Wayne County. It is also suing to block certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, likewise alleging fraud in Democratic-leaning cities and counties in that state.

Wayne County provided a large part of Biden’s margin, casting 587,074 votes for Biden, compared with 264,149 for Trump, according to the county’s unofficial results.

At a hearing before Kenny on Wednesday, a lawyer for the city of Detroit warned against any order that boosted Trump’s “unsubstantiated conspiratorial theories” of voter fraud. “There’s nothing to support it,” attorney David Fink argued. “But the outcome undermines the very bedrock of our democracy, the faith of the people in the democratic process.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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