Tag Archives: Michigan

DOJ sues Detroit suburb, says city’s at-large elections violate Voting Rights Act

Another lawsuit filed under Section 2 of the not-“gutted” Voting Rights Act:

 

The Eastpointe City Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss how to respond to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed against the Detroit suburb last week that claims the city’s at-large council election system, in place since 1929, “dilutes the voting strength of black citizens, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

 

DOJ wants to split the city into four single-member districts, with one drawn to create a black-majority district. The change would require voters to approve an amendment to the city charter.

Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane, who is named in the federal lawsuit along with the council, has said the city’s black residents have not formally expressed concerns, and shifting to district voting could require spending as much as $50,000 to change polling precincts, register new voters and issue new voting cards.

But fighting the DOJ lawsuit in court could cost Eastpointe taxpayers a million dollars.

 

Reaction from residents was mixed, and council members and the city’s attorney say they want DOJ to provide more specific information about the allegations. The city has 60 days to file a response.

UPDATE: Federal judge halts Stein’s Michigan presidential election recount

The latest update in Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s pointless and legally baseless Michigan recount effort:

After two days of  ballot counting, conflicting court decisions and legal wranglings between frustrated lawyers, a federal judge on Wednesday halted the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots cast for president in Michigan, concluding there’s no real evidence of foul play and there’s no valid reason to continue the recount.

 

In his eight-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said “there is no basis” for him to ignore a state court ruling that said the recount should never had started. He was referring to the Michigan Court of Appeals 3-0 ruling, which said that Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, who requested the recount, never had a shot at winning with her fourth-place finish and 1% of the vote, and therefore was not an aggrieved candidate.

The judge also notes that Stein never had any evidence to support her voting machine hacking claims, just speculation.

“To date, plaintiffs have not presented evidence of tampering or mistake. Instead, they present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery — but not actual injury,”  Goldsmith wrote, adding the potential for fraud is not enough to continue to allow the recount to proceed.

“Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount”

It’s not good:”

Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.

 

Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.

 

According to state law, precincts whose poll books don’t match with ballots can’t be recounted. If that happens, original election results stand. “It’s not good,” conceded Daniel Baxter, elections director for the city of Detroit…

 

County reports obtained by The Detroit News, though, indicate canvassers were provided no explanation for why the numbers didn’t add up in those precincts. They certified the results of the election anyway.

UPDATE: Michigan appeals court rejects Jill Stein’s recount as unlawful

Confusion continues in the Michigan recount mess as dueling state and federal rulings ensure a return to court over the pointless process:

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Board of State Canvassers never should have allowed a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein to proceed, because she has no chance to overturn the result of the presidential election in her favor and is not an aggrieved candidate.

 

The panel ordered the board to “reject the Nov. 30, 2016 petition of candidate Stein that precipitated the current recount process.”

 

The ruling came out almost simultaneously with a 2-1 order from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s Monday order that the recount must get under way at noon that day, which it did.

Meanwhile, dozens of precincts are unrecountable, ineligible for recount under state law because the number of voters who cast ballots and the number of ballots found in the ballot box on election night don’t match (a separate issue that does warrant review). That means the election night counts will stand for those precincts, according to Michigan’s State Director of Elections Chis Thomas.

UPDATE: Michigan GOP files appeal with 6th Circuit as challenged recount continues

Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s requested hand recount of about 4.8 million presidential ballots continues as the Michigan Republican Party filed a notice of appeal Monday afternoon with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the recount.

 

Attorney Gary Gordon argued Sunday on behalf of the Michigan GOP that “Stein had no chance of overturning the election results — Stein finished a distant 4th in Michigan to Republican president-elect Donald Trump — her concerns about votes not being counted properly were merely speculative, and the recount would result in excessive costs for Michigan taxpayers.”

 

But U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that Stein demonstrated “a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed” by a December 13 federal deadline and ordered the recount to begin Monday rather than after a two-day waiting period as required by Michigan law.

Federal judge orders immediate start of Michigan recount

Granting the request of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a federal judge ordered Michigan to start a recount today of presidential ballots and to “assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours” to complete the recount by a December 13 federal deadline.

 

Stein and the Green Party are also suing for recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, suggesting with no evidence whatsoever that voting machines in all three states may have been the target of some type of vote-tampering cyberattack.

 

As the Michigan Republican Party’s attorney Gary Gordon pointed out, “Michigan’s voting machines are not connected to the Internet and are secured in such a way that ‘the gremlins and the Martians and the Russian hackers’ can’t get to them.”

 

Yet Stein seems mystified why 75,000 Michigan ballots included no vote for president and declares it must be hacking.

 

Despite raising a reported $7 million for recount efforts, most of the estimated $5 million cost of the recount, minus the $973,250 recount petition fee Stein paid, will be borne by Michigan taxpayers.

 

Meanwhile, the Michigan Legislature in its lame duck session is considering genuine efforts to increase the security of the state’s elections by strengthening voter ID requirements.

It’s Not Racist to Not Have Straight-Ticket Voting

No, it’s not racist: There is no constitutional right to straight-party voting, and there is no evidence that eliminating the convenience discourages more black voters than white voters simply because voting takes a little longer.

 

But that didn’t stop a U.S. District Court Judge in Michigan, Gershwin A. Drain, from ruling otherwise and granting a temporary injunction blocking Michigan’s law ending straight-party voting – a ruling the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay.

 

As Hans von Spakovsky explains, the plaintiffs in the case “didn’t come close to proving all of the factors needed to show a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

The institute’s arguments and the judge’s conclusion are also based on a very patronizing, almost racist view of the black residents of Michigan: that they are not as capable as other voters of marking a ballot without straight-ticket voting and don’t have the patience to wait 20 minutes to vote.

 

Only nine states offer straight-ticket voting; the overwhelming majority of states do not… Georgia eliminated straight-ticket voting in 1994 when the state was completely controlled by the Democratic Party. At the time, that change had to be submitted to the U.S. Justice Department to comply with the preclearance requirement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

 

In August 1994, the Clinton administration’s Civil Rights Division sent Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers a letter clearing the change, having concluded that it would have no discriminatory effect on black voters… Clearly, straight-party voting is not required for any qualified voter in Michigan to fully exercise his or her right to vote, regardless of race or color.

 

Drain’s legal reasoning in this case has absurd implications. It means the 41 states that don’t have straight-ticket voting are all apparently violating the Constitution and discriminating against their minority voters under the Voting Rights Act.

 

Moreover, this case exemplifies how the dubious legal theory of disparate impact is being used (and abused) to make or stop changes in election administration.

 

These changes have nothing to do with discriminatory conduct or any violation of the fundamental right to vote. They have everything to do with partisan advocacy organizations and judges wanting to use the power of the courts to implement their own policy choices in how elections are administered and what rules govern registration and voting.

James O’Keefe Proves Again Why Voter ID is Needed to Prevent Voter Fraud

Democrats Dismiss Voter-Fraud Worries, but Reality Intrudes.  This time in Michigan, where poll workers offered undercover investigative journalist James O’Keefe primary ballots of several well-known voters: journalists, elected officials, and even rapper Eminem.

 

But the anti-voter ID crowd, including Left-wing judges, continue to deny that voter fraud exists, or claim it’s not “widespread” enough to affect the outcome of elections (demonstrably false), pointing to the paucity of prosecutions.

 

The fact is that prosecutions for voter fraud are rare in part because the crime is so hard to catch, the level of proof required is high, the priority in filing such cases is low, and district attorneys are reluctant to pursue cases that will anger half of the ruling political class…

 

Our elections aren’t “rigged,” as Donald Trump says in his more hyperbolic moments. But there is plenty to worry about. Flagrantly slipshod voter-registration systems that can be gamed by groups like ACORN; millions of inactive or suspect names on our voter rolls, as found by Pew Research; and videos such as those James O’Keefe keeps churning out — this should be enough to convince us of the need for vigilance.

Michigan man pleads guilty to voter fraud

More voter fraud that the anti-integrity crowd claims is “nonexistent:”

 

“An Ypsilanti man is facing six months’ probation after pleading guilty to voter fraud.  Adam Kane Easlick, 35, pleaded guilty in Tuscola County Circuit after facing a felony charge of voting in a place where he was not a resident…

 

“Easlick, whose permanent residence is in Ypsilanti, illegally voted in the 2012 presidential election in Tuscola County after registering at a post office. He was registered at multiple addresses outside of Ypsilanti.”

“Getting Detroit’s voter rolls right”

Detroit’s Janice Winfrey: “As the city clerk for the largest municipality in the state, maintaining an accurate and systematic voter file is paramount to the overall success of administering elections… the ongoing purging of Detroit’s voter roll is paramount in guaranteeing accuracy in voting, preventing voter fraud and providing exact percentages in voter turnout.”

Detroit-Winfrey