Judge allows Michigan to intervene in Antrim County case involving Dominion voting machines


A judge approved Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s emergency motion to intervene in a case against a small county that alleges fraud and focuses on Dominion Voting Systems machines.

Michigan Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer ruled in favor of the state’s motion during a Thursday hearing conducted virtually over Zoom. The plaintiff in the case, a voter named William Bailey, argued through his attorney Matthew DePerno that the state should not be granted an intervention given the timing.

Bailey filed the litigation to challenge a local marijuana retailer proposal that just barely passed after three ballots were not included in a retabulation because they had been damaged. The case, which lists Antrim County as the defendant, has gained outsize publicity and attention from President Trump’s legal team and allies because of the focus around Dominion voting machines.

Michigan moved to intervene in the case in order to allow officials better access to scrutinize the plaintiff’s claims of election fraud. The intervention request came after Elsenheimer allowed a forensic audit of the machines by a team on Sunday.

Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast argued on Thursday that the state wanted to intervene from a “supervisory standpoint.” She said that Benson has supervisor control over the Antrim County clerk, the board of canvassers, and all of the other election officials in the county. She said the complaint raises “serious concerns” and argued that because of Benson’s supervisory capacity her office should have a seat at the table.

The judge asked Meingast why the state didn’t intervene sooner, to which she cited a heavy load of other post-election litigation being addressed by Benson’s office and said that it has an interest in the case going forward.

During DePerno’s oral arguments he said that the plaintiff believes that Benson “comes to the court with unclean hands and that she is tardy in her request” to intervene in the case. He noted that the secretary knew of the previous hearing, which resulted in the forensic audit, but that she didn’t take action until after that was conducted.

He said that his team is already in possession of the “forensic images” and that “some conclusions” have already been made from the information. DePerno also took notice of how Benson’s office characterized an apparent glitch that temporarily in 6,000 votes erroneously being tabulated for President-elect Joe Biden rather than Trump. He said the state has characterized it as a tabulation error.

“We believe now that that statement was false,” DePerno claimed, adding that they have seen “serious security breaches.”

DePerno said that prior to the hearing he had received two affidavits that detailed “significant errors” that occurred during the election and noted that his client believes the results in the county are “uncertifiable” and called for decertification of the election.

The lawyer said that his team will be filing a motion regarding a protective order that was put in place dealing with what information can be publicly released. He called the matter an issue of national security.

After oral arguments in the hearing, which was watched by hundreds of people online, the judge ruled that Benson’s involvement in the case is “entirely appropriate” given the motions he has read and the arguments he heard in court.

No representative or counsel for the defendant, Antrim County, showed up to Thursday’s hearing. The judge said he was hoping that the defendant would have representation so that they could hold a pretrial conference, although he said he would schedule such a conference for early next week. The Washington Examiner reached out to Antrim County to ask why no representatives participated but did not immediately receive a response.

The hearing came a day after Dominion CEO John Poulos sent a letter to Senate Oversight Committee Chairman Ed McBroom, a Republican, saying that his company is open to having a representative testify next week.

“I appreciate the opportunity to correct the baseless and defamatory claims being made about our systems. They are harmful not only to Dominion, but also to the countless hardworking election officials across the State, as well all Michigan public officials elected through a fair process,” Poulos said.

Also this week the state warned against a “group” of bad-faith actors who seek to spread disinformation about the voting software. The statement from Michigan Department of State spokesman Jake Rollow came after the forensic audit of the Dominion voting machines.

“It is disappointing, though not surprising, that the primary goal of this group is to continue spreading false information designed to erode the public’s confidence in the election. By doing so, they injure our democracy and dishonor the 5.5 million Michigan citizens who cast ballots,” he said.

Benson’s office said on Wednesday that a zero-margin risk-limiting audit will be conducted in Antrim County this month to further ensure the veracity of the results and offer increased transparency.

The Trump campaign and other associated groups have filed a litany of lawsuits in the Wolverine State seeking to turn the election, which Biden won by more than 150,000 votes, in the president’s favor. Those efforts have largely fallen flat.

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