In a major blow to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s ambitions for election chaos in Michigan, Judge Christopher Yates has ruled the Election Manual sent to election officials across the state as unconstitutional and against state law. This ruling also paves the way for strict signature verification for mail-in ballots, making it tougher for cheaters to rig elections.

Judge Yates stated, “The Court declares that the ‘initial presumption’ of validity in signature verification of absentee-ballot applications and envelopes mandated by the December 2023 guidance manual issued by defendants is incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the State of Michigan.”

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This strong ruling forces the removal of problematic provisions from the guidance manual and catch line, while upholding the validity of R 168.24. Democrats like Benson, who claimed the manual provided clear guidelines for local clerks on signature verification, have been contradicted by the court’s decision.

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Benson, a staunch Democrat, defended the manual, citing the voting rights amendment to the Michigan Constitution. However, it was the Republican National Committee, alongside other plaintiffs, who challenged these guidelines.

Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast, representing Benson, argued that the controversial guidelines were necessary for local clerks to understand discrepancies and significant dissimilarities.

But GOP attorney Robert Avers disagreed, stating that there are already multiple safeguards in place to prevent disenfranchisement, including the constitution’s early voting window, which allows time for voters and election officials to correct discrepancies. He pointed out that voters receive a text message when their absentee ballot is rejected, ensuring transparency in the process.

 

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