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Lawyers clash over integrity of election in Detroit

Detroit poll workers photo
Associated Press

An attorney urged a judge Wednesday to allow Detroit-area election officials to certify the Nov. 3 results, saying any halt would empower the “right-wing fire” trying to cast doubt on the outcome.

A lawsuit claims Republican challengers were removed from the TCF Center in Detroit while absentee ballots were being processed. The court filing also alleges that ballots were backdated, signatures on ballot envelopes weren’t verified and other irregularities.

Attorney David Kallman wants a judge to order an audit of Detroit’s vote and suspend any certification of election results by Wayne County until the work is done.

“There’s plenty of evidence in our affidavits,” Kallman told Judge Timothy Kenny.

The lawsuit is one of at least four in Michigan that has attacked the vote-counting process in Detroit, a Democratic city where Joe Biden easily defeated President Donald Trump. One of the lawsuits is pending in federal court.

An injunction would simply encourage the “right-wing fire,” David Fink, a lawyer for Detroit, told the judge. “It provides fuel to those who want to undermine our democracy by saying voting isn’t fair, voting isn’t honest. ... This was a clear, clean, open and fair election.”

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. The issues raised around the U.S. by Trump’s allies are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. None would have an impact on the outcome.

Kenny said he would make a decision by Friday.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, noted that election results were being challenged in Detroit, where Blacks make up roughly 80% of the population, but not in large counties where whites are the majority.

Nessel said she believes there’s an underlying theme in the lawsuits that “Black people are incompetent.” She said the challenges are frivolous.