A lawsuit filed by four Michigan voters seeks to discard 1.2 million votes in three counties due to alleged fraud in the ballot counting process in those counties. The lawsuit comes after President Donald Trump lost the state by 147,000 votes to his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. The counties in question include Washtenaw County, along with Wayne and Ingham counties, which make up some of the areas that had the highest concentration of Democratic voters.

The plaintiffs are being represented by attorneys Maxwell Goss and James Bopp Jr., who serves as one of the Trump campaign’s legal advisers and also worked for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney in the same capacities. 

The lawsuit insists voter fraud was rampant on and before Nov. 3, despite little to no evidence of wrongdoing or mismanagement in the administration of the election. They want to exclude the votes on the grounds that including ballots from the three counties “where sufficient illegal ballots were included” would result in the legal votes being “diluted.”

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, the lawsuit is based on claims by the Trump campaign and other Republican organizations.

The plaintiffs point to the state legislature’s investigation into the handling of the election and a series of other allegations that have been denied by state officials and disproven by journalists, such as claims that Republican ballot challengers were intimidated or that ballots were illegally altered. 

The lawsuit argues that “this evidence suffices to place in doubt the November 3 presidential election results in identified counties and/or the state as a whole.” The plaintiffs say they have further proof of illegitimate ballots being counted, citing what they refer to as “expert reports” and analysis.

“Upon information and belief, the expert report will identify persons who cast votes illegally by casting multiple ballots, were deceased, had moved, or were otherwise not qualified to vote in the November 3 presidential election, along with evidence of illegal ballot stuffing, ballot harvesting, and other illegal voting,” the lawsuit reads.

Despite the lack of proof, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox have echoed claims about fraud, saying that tampering undermined the state’s elections.

While the election was called on Saturday, several Trump administration officials have continued to challenge the integrity of the election, often making unfounded claims with little support for their allegations. The Trump administration has now filed lawsuits in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, battlegrounds that Biden closely won and many of which flipped after Election Day as more mail-in votes were counted. 

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson defended the security of Michigan’s elections, asserting that no voter fraud occurred on or before Nov. 3.

“Whether it’s doctored images, staged demonstrations, false tweets or frivolous lawsuits, the purpose is all the same: to reduce the public’s faith in our elections and our outcomes,” Benson said at a press conference last week. “But those efforts will not succeed. In Michigan, the process worked. Our system is secure, accurate and anyone who tells you otherwise is attacking our democracy or unhappy with the results.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel accused Trump’s lawsuits of being racially motivated due to the high concentration of African American voters in areas like Wayne County.

“Really the themes that we see, that persist, are this: Black people are corrupt, Black people are incompetent and Black people can’t be trusted,” Nessel said in a press call Wednesday. “That’s the narrative that is continually espoused by the Trump campaign and their allies in these lawsuits.” 

Biden earned 838,425 votes in the three counties combined, while Trump earned 398,030 votes, representing a more than 2:1 margin in favor of the Biden campaign. Ann Arbor specifically also experienced record voter turnout numbers in the Nov. 3 election, seeing 67,986 voters casting ballots.

If the 1.2 million votes from the three counties were excluded from Michigan’s final tallies,Trump would then have a lead of nearly 300,000 votes over Biden. However, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have so far largely been dismissed and criticized by state and local officials. 

Daily News Editor Ben Rosenfeld can be reached at bbrosenf@umich.edu.

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