(LifeSiteNews) — The Republican National Committee (RNC) won an election integrity lawsuit against Michigan’s Secretary of State, alleging that she unlawfully curbed oversight of local elections.
The RNC sued on September 30 to stop “last-minute guidance,” issued by Democrat Jocelyn Benson before Michigan’s Aug. 2 primary election, from also affecting the November general election.
Benson’s 11th-hour directives included creating a last-minute new credential form for poll challengers, thereby “adding a barrier to poll challenger access,” according to the RNC; limiting which poll workers the challengers can communicate with and “restricting the potential grounds for challenges,” in a deviation from Michigan law; and “creating an artificial deadline for when poll challengers can be appointed.”
The plaintiffs argued that Benson violated Michigan’s Administrative Procedures Act by simply “silently” uploading the new voting procedures onto the Michigan secretary of state’s website rather than use a “formal rulemaking or process.”
“This ruling is a massive victory for election integrity, the rule of law, and Michigan voters,” stated RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel after the court decision.
“Jocelyn Benson not only disregarded Michigan election law in issuing this guidance, she also violated the rights of political parties and poll challengers to fully ensure transparency and promote confidence that Michigan elections are run fairly and lawfully,” McDaniel continued.
This isn’t the first time Benson has been ruled against over election procedure. In March 2021, Benson’s instruction that Michigan election clerks should “presume the accuracy of absentee ballot signatures” was overruled by State Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray because she did not follow the proper rule-making procedure, The Federalist reported.
The conservative news outlet called Benson’s “history of supporting restrictions on poll challengers” a “tactic used to decrease citizen oversight into local elections and rig them in Democrats’ favor.”
Similar efforts to impede poll watchers are being challenged in other regions. The RNC has also sued North Carolina’s State Board of Elections, partly to prevent the enforcement of a rule they said would hinder the placement of poll observers in violation of state law.
“Volunteers across the political spectrum have a right to be poll challengers, and election laws exist to be followed — not subverted by Democrat officials at the last minute,” McDaniel said in a press release.