GOP candidate sues state over COVID-19 social distancing rules at polls

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    A lawsuit filed Friday against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater is challenging the state’s new COVID-19 health guidance for poll challengers.

    Stephen Carra, a pro-Trump state House candidate running to replace the term-limited state Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), filed the suit along with Robert Cushman. Carra is running against Democrat Amy East for Miller’s seat. According to Cushman’s LinkedIn profile, he is a self-described longtime political activist for “conservative causes.”

    Stephen Carra et al v. Jocelyn Benson et al was filed Friday with the Michigan Court of Claims and made public on Monday.

    Here’s your guide to voting in Michigan

    According to the Michigan Department of State’s new health guidance for the Nov. 3 election, all poll challengers and poll watchers must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth in polling locations. Poll challengers must also stand within six feet of election workers, but only temporarily while issuing challenges or viewing the poll book.

    On Friday, Carra and Cushman made an emergency motion to request a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the (temporary) social distancing rule, alleging that the guideline impedes a challenger’s duties and rights.

    According to MLive, Cushman was a poll challenger in August but argues that the six-foot rule made it nearly impossible for him to carry out the work.

    Laina G. Stebbins
    Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, immigration and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).