State of Michigan

Michigan Detroit Absentee Voting Challenge

Karamo v. Winfrey

Lawsuit filed by the Republican candidate for Michigan secretary of state, Kristina Karamo, the Election Integrity Fund and Force (a conservative nonprofit), two poll challengers, a poll watcher, a poll worker and a voter against the City of Detroit Board of Election Inspectors and Detroit City clerk challenging the method by which absentee ballots are administered, returned and counted in the city. Specifically, the plaintiffs argue that absentee ballots should only be requested in person at an election clerk’s office, as opposed to online or by mail. They further argue that the individual requesting and casting an absentee ballot must verify their identity in person since the current signature verification process utilized by the city involves “illegal” technology that violates the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that absentee ballots should not be returned via mail or drop box and instead should be submitted to an election clerk in person. They base these assertions on unfounded evidence of “ballot mules” whom they allege stuffed thousands of ballots into drop boxes during the 2020 election. The plaintiffs argue that the “Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that the identification process protects against dilution of a vote by allowing unqualified voters to cast ballots.” Finally, the plaintiffs claim that the city’s use of Absent Voter Counting Board (“a precinct that may be established by the election commission of a city or township for the purpose of processing and counting absent voter ballots separately from precinct activity”) is illegal since it does not allow for adequate observation by the public, including poll challengers, and involves illegal “high-speed scanners.” The plaintiffs ask the court to require “all Detroit voters to vote in person or obtain their ballots in person at the clerk’s office…[and] require all ballots [to] be counted at the precinct.” Additionally, they ask the court to issue a writ of mandamus to compel Detroit to “halt the use of absentee ballots that are obtained without identification, halt the counting of ballots cast through drop boxes that are not effectively monitored, and distribute the ballots to the precincts to use equipment and procedures that are as near as possible as the in-person process and in compliance of law.”

On Nov. 7, a judge denied the plaintiffs’ requests and dismissed the lawsuit.

Case Documents

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