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Judge refuses to stop certification of Detroit-area votes

Detroit poll workers photo
Associated Press

A judge on Friday refused to stop the certification of Detroit-area election results, rejecting claims that the city had committed fraud and spoiled the count with its handling of absentee ballots.

It’s the third time a judge has refused to intervene in crucial steps that are necessary to bless the broader Michigan totals, which gave Joe Biden a victory over President Donald Trump by more than 140,000 votes.

David Kallman, a lawyer for Republican challengers who observed the count at a downtown convention hall, wanted Judge Timothy Kenny to order an audit of Detroit’s ballots and to suspend any certification of vote totals by Wayne County canvassers.

But Kenny found that the allegations of fraud were “not credible” and said it would be an “unprecedented exercise of judicial activism” for him to intervene.

The lawsuit claims that Republican challengers were illegally removed from the TCF Center while absentee ballots were being processed. It also alleges that ballots were backdated, signatures on ballot envelopes weren’t verified and suspicious vehicles rolled up with ballots before dawn on Nov. 4.

Officials, however, said there were plenty of GOP representatives in the convention hall, though access at times was restricted because of COVID-19 rules.

The judge said he was especially swayed by an affidavit from Chris Thomas, the respected former state elections chief, who was hired in September to help Detroit prepare for a flood of ballots. Thomas at each turn knocked down what Kenny described as “speculation and guesswork about sinister motives.”

Thomas acknowledged that Detroit “utilized a rental truck to deliver ballots” to the TCF Center, the judge said. “There is no evidentiary basis to attribute any evil activity by virtue of the city using a rental truck with out-of-state license plates.”

Indeed, there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well throughout the U.S., and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.

At least five lawsuits have been filed in Michigan, including two that are pending in federal court. Kenny twice has turned down injunctions in Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold. Trump improved his performance there by 35,000 votes over 2016 but still was routed by Biden, who got 68% amid a significant turnout.