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Michigan judge denies Trump campaign lawsuit to stop ballot count

The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday evening, claimed that poll watchers were barred from watching the absentee voter count

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Thursday 05 November 2020 20:09 GMT
'Stop the Count' protesters storm Michigan election office
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A Michigan judge has denied the Trump campaign’s lawsuit to stop counting the state’s ballots over a claim that Republican poll watchers were denied access to view the ballots. 

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens said she will deny the Trump campaign’s request for lawsuit in a written order, which she will release on Friday afternoon. 

The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday evening, claimed that poll watchers were barred from watching the absentee voter count. Judge Stephens noted that the lawsuit was filed mere hours before the final ballots were counted. 

She also said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person for the Trump campaign to sue because it was up to local election officials to control who gains access during vote counts. These local election officials were not listed on the complaint. 

The Associated Press called Michigan for former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday evening as the vote count came in. Mr Biden has 50. 6 per cent of the votes to 47.9 per cent of the votes for President Donald Trump, and 99 per cent of the votes have been counted. 

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Mr Trump’s lawsuit claimed that Ms Benson, a Democrat, was preventing Republican poll watchers to view absentee ballots as they were counted. Ms Benson has denied the allegations. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel's office argued on Thursday that the Trump campaign’s lawsuit was moot given how much of the ballots were already counted once they filed. 

"What I have at best is a hearsay affidavit, I believe, that addresses a harm that would be significant, but that’s what we got," Judge Stephens said. "We’ve got an affidavit that is not firsthand knowledge.”

Lawsuits were filed in Pennsylvania as well that asked for the counting to be “temporarily” stopped so the Trump campaign could put more Republican poll watchers in the room where the ballots were being tabulated. 

The Trump campaign has also filed lawsuits in Nevada and Georgia

In a different move, the Trump campaign called for a recount in the votes in Wisconsin. The Associated Press called the state for Mr Biden on Wednesday, the same day it called Michigan for the former vice president. 

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