State Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton Twp.) Tuesday said the GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature has filed a renewed motion to intervene in a voting lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

This comes after Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled Friday that Michigan clerks must accept any late ballots that were postmarked no later than the day before the general election, Nov. 2, and received 14 days after the election

Voting rights advocates have raised particular concerns this year, with reported U.S. Postal Service slowdowns, amid cuts to overtime and equipment.

The case brought by Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans against Benson, a Democrat, who said Friday she isn’t planning to appeal. Stephens said Friday there was “affidavit evidence that many voters were in fact deprived of having their absent voter ballot tallied in the August primary.”

“The injunctions issued by the Court of Claims on Friday directly contradict many of the protections the Legislature has put in place to protect the integrity of our elections,” said Bollin. “While the secretary of state should appeal, she appears too focused on her own agenda to defend the laws that were put in place to safeguard our elections.”

Benson reacted Friday to the Stephens ruling by saying “no eligible voter should be disenfranchised through no fault of their own for exercising their right to vote by mail.”

2 judges make major rulings this week centered around Nov. election

“The court’s decision recognizes many of the unique challenges that the pandemic has created for all citizens and will reduce the potential for voter disenfranchisement due to mail delays,” Benson said.

Bollin, who previously served as Brighton Township clerk, noted the Legislature attempted to intervene in this lawsuit earlier this year, but its motion was denied. She vowed to appeal the issue to the Michigan Supreme Court, if necessary.

“We’re not giving up this fight. Election security is too important,” Bollin said. “Voters should be able to have confidence in the work our local clerks are doing to have a safe and secure election this November.”

There were two other voting rights decisions last week impacting Michigan, as the Advance previously reported.

A Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled in a separate case that it was legal for Benson to send out unsolicited absentee voter ballot applications to the state’s 7.7 million registered voters.

And U.S. District Judge Stephanie Davis granted a preliminary injunction to block a state law and lift restrictions on paying to transport people to polling places. The lawsuit was filed by Priorities USA, a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic SuperPAC, in November 2019.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.