After a GOP state House candidate sued the state for setting social distancing restrictions on poll watchers and challengers, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson settled the lawsuit allowing them to be within six feet of election workers.
Prior to the lawsuit, the Michigan Department of State’s health guidance for the Nov. 3 election required all poll challengers and poll watchers to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth in polling locations, and only allowed them to stand within six feet of election workers while issuing challenges or viewing the poll book.
Last week, state House candidate Steve Carra from Three Rivers filed a lawsuit against the guidance, saying that it impedes the challengers’ rights and duties.
The settlement, filed in the Michigan Court of Claims Wednesday, still requires poll challengers and watchers to wear masks, but the state will release new guidance around social distancing.
Carra’s attorney, Matt Gronda, said the new agreement allows challengers and poll watchers to “stand in closer proximity to election workers to have a challenge heard, to observe the poll book or perform any other legal duty … provided close personal interaction is as brief as possible.”
Judge Cynthia Stephens also required the state to update the frequently asked questions page to show the recent changes from the agreement.