Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is seeking to make permanent a unilateral rule she ordered in 2020 that effectively decreased scrutiny of absentee ballot signatures.
A court ruled Benson’s order to assume signatures matched was illegal because she did not follow the proper procedure in changing the rules shortly before the election.
Now, Benson is attempting to go through the proper procedure this time to make permanent her desire to decrease ballot security, a group called Rescue Michigan first reported. A move that would remove “one of the only safeguards to ensure the integrity of the ballots.”
“She’s submitted a proposed administrative rule that would actually reinstate her policy to presume signatures are valid,” the group noted in an email, explaining Benson’s proposed rule would now mean:
- All signatures are presumed valid.
- Signatures with differences that aren’t “multiple”, “significant”, and “obvious” are valid.
- Signatures with all of those deficiencies may still be accepted if just one “redeeming factor” is determined, whether or not it negates the multiple, significant, and obvious deficiencies.
- That one “redeeming factor” can be a shaking hand, a signature that appears “rushed” (e.g. a scribble), or anything the election official can imagine.
- Even if every factor imaginable says it’s a fake signature, election officials can consider the voter’s age or the age of the signature on file to declare it valid.
“In other words: There would be no meaningful signature match standard at all,” Rescue Michigan argued.
In a recent column, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon noted Benson broke Michigan law in 2020 when she did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act when lowering the scrutiny standard.
“Plain and simple,” Dixon argued, “the court ruling vindicated one of President Trump’s claims: that rogue secretaries of state like Jocelyn Benson created their own rules to swing the election. Whether you call it ‘stolen,’ or ‘rigged,’ or something else, the bottom line is Benson and other Democratic officials changed the rules to improve their chances of defeating Trump.”
She continued, “And it should be noted the lawsuit against Benson’s actions was filed in October—before the election—but not decided until March, long after. By that point, the game was well over.”
Benson announced on her agency website that she will be holding a hearing on the proposed rule change on Friday, October 1 at 9:00 a.m. in Detroit.
Additionally, Benson has been under fire for her connection to a Mark Zuckerberg-funded nonprofit, who awarded the group approximately $12 million.
Even though the money was to be spent on nonpartisan “voter education,” the organization, the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration (MCELA), spent 99 percent of it, close to $11.9 million, to two political consulting firms that work exclusively for Democrats.
“It is illegal for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to engage in partisan political activity. Did these firms educate all voters or just the ones they wanted to turn out for Joe Biden? We don’t know. Once the money flowed through the nonprofit to the consulting firms, it became untraceable,” questioned Dixon.
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