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Flint Local NewsRepublican lawsuit against Flint election officials dismissed by Michigan Court

Republican lawsuit against Flint election officials dismissed by Michigan Court

Flint, Michigan – A case that the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee brought against election officials in Flint, Michigan was thrown out by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The lawsuit said that during the August and November 2022 elections, Flint’s election commissioners ignored Republican candidates for election watcher jobs in favor of Democrats. The plaintiffs said this move was an unfair attempt to change the makeup of the city’s election oversight board by having too many Democrats.

However, the Appeals Court’s decision didn’t go into detail about how strong these claims were. Instead, the focus was placed squarely on the issue of legal standing, a principle that determines who has the right to bring a lawsuit based on their stake in the outcome of the case. The court decided that the state and national Republican Party branches did not have a strong enough link to the Flint election to be allowed to be in court.

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In their unanimous opinion, the judges noted a potentially more viable path for a lawsuit would have been one filed by the Genesee County Republican Party, suggesting a closer, more direct relationship with the election processes in Flint.

“A closer question, and one not raised on appeal, is whether plaintiffs would have organizational standing based upon the rights and interests of the Republican chair for Genesee County. Because the issue has not been raised, we decline to consider it,” said the unanimous opinion.

Flint City Clerk Davina Donahue, who is also a member of the city’s elections commission, expressed her approval of the court’s decision. Speaking to Michigan Public, Donahue emphasized the local nature of election administration and voiced her satisfaction with the court’s recognition of this aspect.

“Michigan elections are run at the local level so we’re glad that the Court of Appeals recognized that this is a local issue,” she said.

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Donahue also defended the city’s efforts to recruit election workers from both major political parties. “Yes, we can show that we did everything in our ability to get as many election workers — Republican election workers — as possible and, yes, we can defend that,” she said. “That’s what we’ve done to this point.”

On the other side, Michigan Republican Party Chair Pete Hoekstra is still digesting the court’s decision and contemplating the next steps. From a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Houston, Hoekstra shared his perspective, emphasizing the importance of fair access for both Republicans and Democrats to the polling process.

“This is asking to ensure that Republicans and Democrats have the same opportunity to be at the polls and to verify that the election process is fair, and that’s what we’re fighting for,” he said in a phone interview from a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Houston.

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The potential next step in this legal battle could involve an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, with the Republican Party possibly seeking an expedited decision ahead of the upcoming November elections, which are only eight months away.