In the Courts

Learn about the legal efforts shaping the fight to protect voting rights.
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Michigan

Michigan
Michigan

Redistricting 2021-2030

Michigan Redistricting Extension

In re Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

Petition filed by the Michigan Secretary of State and Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission seeking an extension of the deadline for Michigan to redraw its state legislative and congressional maps. The release of Census data needed to redraw the maps has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to grant the extension, finding that it would be premature to grant relief ahead of the map deadline.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Election Materials Preservation

Leaf v. Whitmer

Lawsuit filed by Barry County Sheriff and individual voters against MI Governor Whitmer, MI Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and the State Board of Elections seeking to maintain and preserve election data and machines for a post-election audit. The district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a restraining order and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Thomas More Society Election Challenge

Johnson v. Benson

Lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group, asking the Michigan Supreme Court to segregate ballots and delay Michigan’s certification of its presidential election results. The court denied the petition’s request for declaratory relief.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Certification Challenge

King v. Whitmer

Lawsuit filed by individual Republican voters seeking to de-certify Michigan’s 2020 presidential election results based on allegations that there were “hundreds of thousands of illegal, ineligible, duplicate or purely fictitious ballots” cast. The district court denied the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, writing that the lawsuit was “less about achieving the relief Plaintiffs seek—as much of that relief is beyond the power of this Court— and more about the impact of their allegations on People’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government,” and dismissed the case. The voters appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit, but due to “exigencies of time” petitioned the Supreme Court before the Sixth Circuit heard the case. The Supreme Court denied the petition. Various parties moved for sanctions of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, which are still pending before the district court.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Final Certification Challenge

Johnson v. Benson

Lawsuit filed on behalf of individual voters by the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group, seeking to stop the final certification of election results based on allegations of voter fraud. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Democratic Counties Election Challenge

Bally v. Whitmer

Lawsuit filed by individual voters seeking to exclude presidential election results from Wayne, Washtenaw and Ingham counties based on allegations that illegal ballots were counted. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Wayne County Results Challenge

Donald J. Trump for President Inc. v. Benson

Lawsuit filed by the Trump Campaign and individual voters challenging the process by which Wayne County, Michigan processed ballots and their prohibition on challengers viewing the election tabulation process. The complaint seeks to enjoin the certification of any “fraudulent or unlawfully cast ballots.” The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Detroit Election Challenge

Costantino v. Detroit

Lawsuit filed by individual voters alleging multiple fraud conspiracies related to the 2020 presidential election in Michigan. The complaint asks the Board of Elections to conduct an audit of the election, prohibit the certification of the election, and order a new election to be held. The trial court denied the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief and both the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court denied attempts to appeal. Back in the trial court, the plaintiffs filed a motion to audit election results, which was also denied. After the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal, the case was dismissed.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Purge Intervention

Daunt v. Benson

Lawsuit filed by individual voter attempting to initiate a broad voter purge of Michigan’s voter rolls less than two months before the 2020 election. A. Philip Randolph Institute and Rise Inc. intervened as defendants in the case. The parties agreed to dismiss the case after the Michigan Secretary of State announced various “election security” initiatives.

Impact

Michigan College Student Voting

College Democrats at the Univ. of Mich. v. Johnson

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Michigan college students that challenging two laws — one that required individuals who registered by mail or via a third-party registration drive to vote the first time in-person and one that required an individual’s driver’s license address match their voter registration address — made voting more difficult for college students in violation of the First, 14th and 26th Amendments. The Secretary of State issued a directive invalidating the first law and an agreement was reached that the Secretary of State would implement a public education campaign around college student voter registration to alleviate the confusion created by the law.

Impact

Michigan Signature Matching

Priorities USA v. Benson

Lawsuit filed by Priorities USA and an individual voter challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s signature match laws, which required election officials to reject absentee applications and ballots if they determine that the signature provided with the applications or ballot does not match the voter’s signature on file with election authorities. In response to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the Secretary of State released updated guidance around signature matching standards and cure procedures.

2019-2020 Election Cycle

Michigan Criminal Voting Challenges

Priorities USA v. Nessel

Lawsuit filed by Priorities USA, Rise, Inc. and a local chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute challenging two Michigan voting restrictions — a voter transportation ban and an absentee ballot organizing and assistance ban. The complaint alleges that these laws create unreasonable burdens on the right to vote in violation of the First and 14th Amendments and Voting Rights Act. After the district court dismissed some of plaintiffs’ claims, intervening parties (Michigan Legislature, RNC and Michigan Republican Party) appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Litigation is ongoing.