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Michigan Judge Dismisses County’s 2020 Election Fraud Case

An Antrim County judge rejected a lawsuit that claimed the vote tabulators used in the 2020 election were faulty and would switch votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. An audit already determined the counts were fair.

(TNS) — An Antrim County, Mich., judge dismissed an election fraud lawsuit Tuesday that has served as a vehicle to advance the unfounded conspiracy theory that tabulators manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems switched votes last fall from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

More than six months after the election, the lawsuit sought an audit of Michigan’s election results. Michigan election officials already undertook a statewide audit of the presidential election starting in January in which more than 18,000 randomly selected ballots from more than 1,300 jurisdictions were reviewed by clerks.

The Bureau of Elections found that the tabulators counted ballots properly and uncovered no evidence of widespread issues with the machines.

The judge declared the case moot, ruling Central Lake Township resident Bill Bailey who brought the lawsuit, had already been granted the forensic imaging of the election equipment he requested and there had also been a lawful election audit.

"There is no reason to do it twice," 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer said during the Tuesday court hearing.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 23, 2020, the same day that the Board of State Canvassers certified Michigan's election results.

It alleged that tabulators used in Antrim County were preprogrammed to switch votes. But in fact, a human error led to inaccurate election night reporting of the results that showed Biden winning the GOP stronghold.

The error was caught and corrected the next morning, the results were certified and a hand recount of the ballots affirmed Trump's victory. Trump won the county with more than 61 percent of the vote.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 election. Judges across the country dismissed lawsuits filed in battleground states across the country seeking to delay and derail the certification of election results. The lawsuit against Antrim County seemed to be only one alleging election fraud that remained active. Meanwhile, Dominion has filed defamation lawsuits against Trump allies and news organizations that peddled misinformation about its machines.

Matthew DePerno, the Portage attorney who represented Bailey, warned that dismissing the lawsuit would leave a cloud over all future elections.

"How can anyone trust the system in the future?" he asked.

Bailey did not vote in the recent May 4 election because he no longer trusts Dominion's voting machines, DePerno said.

Erik Grill, the attorney representing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a defendant in the case, argued that the case should be dismissed during a May 10 hearing.

The court has already granted the requested access to Antrim County's tabulators, the plaintiff lacks legal standing and the lawsuit relies on unsound legal arguments, Grill said.

In December, Elsenheimer authorized a forensic examination of the tabulators used in Antrim County.

The investigation resulted in a flawed report by a self-proclaimed cybersecurity expert who mistook voting jurisdictions in Minnesota for Michigan and made wildly inaccurate claims about voter turnout in Michigan in two other election lawsuits that sought to overturn the results.

Another analysis filed in support of the Antrim County lawsuit falsely claims that an algorithm was deployed in Michigan's election system to manipulate the results.

In making the case against the lawsuit's dismissal, DePerno said that Bailey's request for an independent audit of Antrim County's election hadn't been granted during the May 10 hearing. Elsenheimer determined that it had.

A newer provision of the Michigan constitution enacted when voters backed no-reason absentee voting gives voters the right to have the results of statewide elections audited.

But it does not give Bailey the right to a custom audit, Elsenheimer said Tuesday.

During a press conference Monday in Traverse city hosted by DePerno, a crowd cheered on the lawsuit and DePerno's call for an audit in Michigan like the one being carried out in Maricopa County.

The audit in Arizona's populous county has breathed new life into Trump's baseless claim that the election was stolen from him.

Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors which oversees the county's elections, called the work carried out by the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas hired for the job "a grift disguised as an audit" during a meeting Monday.

"One should be more concerned about what this exercise is costing us in time and money and why the ninjas can't even find files that were already given to them by Maricopa County," Sellers said.

Cyber Ninjas provided analysis to support the fraud allegations levelled in the Antrim County lawsuit and the firm's CEO has promoted election fraud claims, the Arizona Republic reported.

DePerno said Monday that he already has a team of experts lined up who are ready to conduct an audit in Michigan but did not specifically name Cyber Ninjas.

DePerno and Bailey could appeal the court's decision.

(c)2021 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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