Republican Michigan Secretary of State candidate, Kristina Karamo, garners support for her campaign at Trump’s Save America rally in the Macomb County Community College Sports & Expo Center in Warren, Michigan October 1. Grace Beal/Daily. Buy this photo.

Judge Timothy Kenny of the Wayne County Circuit Court rejected a lawsuit filed by Kristina Karamo, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, that sought to prevent absentee ballots in Detroit from being counted in the Nov. 8 midterm elections. In her campaign for Secretary of State, Karamo has repeatedly made false claims of voter fraud in Detroit and nationwide.

Karamo’s lawsuit, filed on Oct. 27, initially asked the Court not to count absentee ballots in Detroit that had been submitted in drop boxes instead of in person. Karamo’s legal team modified the claim on Nov. 4 to halt the vote count until Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson — who is running for reelection — implemented rules for how election workers should verify voter signatures. They also asked the Court to compel Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey to create a public record of how poll workers verify voter signatures, install livestream cameras at ballot drop boxes and allow poll challengers to access the absentee ballot counting room. 

In a press release obtained by The Michigan Daily, Karamo said she believed this lawsuit was crucial to protect election security in Detroit, though there is no proof of voter fraud in Detroit or in the state of Michigan.

“This lawsuit is about respecting the rule of law, and the only responsible action is for politicians and the media to stop demonizing people who question elections and admit liberals, independents, and conservative Americans have questions about our elections and work with the courts to start solving the problem,” Karamo said. 

In his ruling, Kenny said the lawsuit failed to provide evidence of voter fraud and said it was a violation of the Michigan Constitution to focus only on Detroit. In his opinion, Kenny wrote that Karamo’s lawsuit would disproportionately harm Detroit voters without reason for doing so. 

“The preliminary injunction would serve to disenfranchise tens of thousands of eligible voters in the city of Detroit,” Kenny wrote. “Additionally, the city of Detroit would be the only community in Michigan to suffer such an adverse impact. Such harm to the citizens of the city of Detroit, and by extension the citizens of the state of Michigan, is not only unprecedented, it is intolerable.” 

In a Monday press release, Attorney General Dana Nessel said she supported Kenny’s decision to strike down this lawsuit and said she will work to protect voting rights across the state. 

“This order from the Court allows the City of Detroit to move forward with its normal process and rejects the baseless assertions of this frivolous lawsuit filed simply to spread misinformation,” Nessel wrote. “I am committed to ensuring all voters can cast their ballots, safely and securely. I will continue to utilize the authority of the department to thwart efforts to marginalize Michigan voters.” 

Winfrey filed a motion on Nov. 4 asking the Court to require Karamo’s legal team to pay for the city of Detroit’s legal fees in this case, totaling over $11,000. 

Following the ruling, absentee ballots in the city of Detroit are still eligible for the Nov. 8 election. Absentee ballots must be received by the City Clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day to count. Anyone eligible can register and vote up until 8 p.m. on Nov. 8. 

Daily Staff Reporter Samantha Rich can be reached at sammrich@umich.edu.