The Trump campaign faced another setback Monday after an appeals court rejected an appeal from a lower court decision that sought to cease the counting of ballots in Michigan until the campaign’s sought relief was granted.
The Trump campaign first filed the Michigan lawsuit on November 4, the day after Election Day. The lawsuit alleged that election challengers, who can raise an objection to the counting of a ballot, were denied the opportunity to watch the video surveillance of ballot drop off boxes. Plaintiff alleged that this violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the purity of elections clause in the Michigan State Constitution. Although not present in the initial complaint, an affidavit was submitted by Jessica Connarn, a designated poll watcher, who claimed she was told by another poll worker that some poll workers were changing the dates ballots were received so they would be accepted even if received after Election Day.
In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens denied the request for injunctive relief because the plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on the merits. First, she noted that Michigan law does not require election challengers to have access to surveillance videos of the ballot drop-boxes. Second, she noted that the affidavit relied entirely on inadmissible hearsay evidence. Lastly, Stephens concluded that given the ballots were mostly counted by the time the lawsuit was filed, the request for injunctive relief was moot.
The Trump campaign appealed the lawsuit, arguing Stephens reached the wrong legal conclusions, and that the case was not moot because the state of Michigan had not yet certified the election results.
The Court of Appeals deemed the appeal defective because the plaintiff failed to include necessary legal documents in the appeal. The court concluded plaintiff has 21 days to cure the defects, or the case will be dismissed.
Networks have already projected that President-elect Biden won the state of Michigan and reached the necessary 270 electoral college threshold to win the 2020 United States presidential election.