Five individuals in Michigan are suing Michigan’s dishonest Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and MI Director of Elections Jonathan Brater over their sudden creation of a new set of rules titled “The Appointments, Rights, and Duties of Poll Challengers and Election Workers,” only months before Michigan’s August 2, 2022, Primary Election. The lawsuit asks for an emergency injunction that compels MI SOS Jocelyn Benson and Jonathan Brater to rescind their unconstitutional changes to their newly created “guidance.”
On the day of the Primary Election in Detroit, under the new guidance of MI Soros-funded SOS Jocelyn Benson Jonathan Brater, an unknown third-party security group by the name of “ICU,” threw Braden Giacobazzi, an Independent poll challenger out of the former TCF Center (now the Huntington Place) for asking too many (legitimate) questions about ballots and the processes that he claims were not being followed. Braden’s story can be found here.
The video taken by 100 Percent Fed Up at the time of the incident shows the very respectful interaction between the Detroit Police Officer, and Braden Giacobazzi, who actually cites election law and explains how the ICU agents, hired by the Detroit City Clerk’s office were violating election law when they threw him out of the counting facility.
Benson’s new rules are just one more example of how she uses her position as Secretary of State to demonize, mischaracterize and tie the hands of GOP and Independent poll challengers behind their backs while empowering election workers, who, in many cases, were hostile to the GOP and Independent poll challengers at the TCF Center in 2020.
Three of the five individuals who are plaintiffs in the case served as poll challengers in Detroit during the most contentious counting of absentee ballots in Michigan history. The GOP and Independent poll challengers, whose only goal was to ensure free and fair elections in 2020, quickly became targets of what appeared to be a coordinated attack by select election workers, supervisors, and election officials.
The majority of the over 200 poll challengers who signed sworn affidavits after working at the TCF Center on the day after the 2020 election attested to the targeting, threatening, and intimidating behavior by election workers, yet to the best of our knowledge, not one affidavit was filed that cited the same or similar behavior by GOP poll challengers directed at election workers.
Here are only two examples of affidavits filed by poll challengers citing intimidation and a total disregard by election workers for their challenges:
Although there were many cases of poll challenger intimidation (not the least of which occurred when GOP and Independent poll challengers were locked out of the counting room at the TCF Center), not one election worker was ever charged for their illegal behavior.
MI Election law clearly states:
37. Threatening or intimidating an election challenger is a felony, as follows:
MCL $168.734 Challengers; preventing presence, penalty.
Any officer or election board who shall prevent the presence of any such challenger as above provided, or shall refuse or fail to provide such challenger with conveniences for the performance of the duties expected of him, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000.00, or by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding two years, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Ann Howard on September 29, 2022, addresses the current election laws and seeks to prevent Jocelyn Benson and Jonathan Brader from issuing further guidance that would make it easier for election workers to berate and intimidate poll challengers with no chance to address their behavior with anyone at the absentee counting facilities.
From the lawsuit:
Instead of faithfully adhering to Michigan election law and the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, Defendants” Benson and Brater, via the May 2022 directive, unilaterally issued fatally flawed “guidance” to local election officials. This “guidance” includes instructions that are either foreign to or in direct conflict with the clear language of MCL §168.733 and other election law provisions. In such instances, the “guidance” is invalid unless and until promulgated in a manner compliant with the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969.
In this case, Plaintiffs express concern that Defendants Benson and Brater, by issuing improper “guidance,” may, in effect, foment election inspectors to unknowingly trample on the rights of their election challenger counterparts. The disagreement of that which constitutes proper and lawful behavior may give rise to improper allegations of disorderly conduct levied against election challengers.
Defendant Benson is further intimidating election challengers into acquiescing their rights and responsibilities through public statements depicting them as violent extremists and is self-prophesying future election-day discontent through distribution of training materials maintaining the same tone.
ALL candidates whose names will appear on the MI ballot on November 8, 2022, have an interest in ensuring poll challengers, whose job it is to ensure free and fair elections are being conducted, are not being prohibited from doing their jobs by election workers with an agenda.
The two non-poll challengers listed on the lawsuit against Benson and Brader are Penny Crider, who is running for a seat in the MI State House in the 17th district, and Penny’s husband, Kenneth Crider, who is running for a seat in the MI State Senate in the 6th district of Michigan. According to the lawsuit, both Penny and Kenneth Crider, who will appear on the ballot on November 8, 2022, “have a unique substantial interest in the manner from the citizenry at large in ensuring an open, transparent, and lawful election process, which poll challengers in part ensure.”
Jocelyn Benson and Jonathan Brater’s unconstitutional changes to MI election law would essentially make poll challengers subject to the whims of election workers and place them in a position where hostile election workers, of which there were many in the 2020 election, have the ability to overrule objections made by election poll challengers and have them thrown out of the counting centers.
Michigan’s dishonest SOS Jocelyn Benson has been taking part in what appears to be a mass disinformation campaign designed to gaslight Michigan voters into believing GOP and Independent poll challengers, who were victims of election workers who cheered when they were thrown out of the counting room, or when pizza boxes were placed over the windows to cover the faces of GOP and Independent poll challengers who were thrown out of the room, are somehow now “terrorists” or “extremists” that need to be dealt with before the November election.
Ann Howard cites several examples in her lawsuit of how Benson is working with the dishonest media to create a wild and unfounded narrative that demonizes and mischaracterizes moms, teachers, college professors, doctors, former police officers, grandparents, United States veterans, business owners, and college students who volunteer to work as poll challengers and labels them as “violent extremists” who are “interfering” with elections.
Here are just a few of the examples Howard cites in her lawsuit of Benson pushing false narratives to justify her illegal changes to poll challenger rules:
From a September 8 interview with CNN –
“The mounting efforts to influence poll workers have prompted concerns over election disruptions, forcing the state to establish a code of conduct for those individuals,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Poll workers who don’t adhere to the rules will be removed “by the local clerk, if they violate the law … or in any way interfere with the administration of fair and secure elections,” Benson told CNN.
A Huffington Post article that addressed a September 8, 2022, interview with Major Garrett on “Face the Nation” was also listed on the lawsuit.
Benson was asked by the “Face the Nation” host what voters are most concerned about as the midterms approach.
“Violence and disruption on Election Day, first and foremost, and in the days surrounding the election,” Benson quickly told CBS “Face the Nation” host.
“Secondly, there’s a concern about the ongoing spread of misinformation, which, of course, fuels the potential for additional threats, harassment, and even violence on Election Day,” Benson added.
The RNC filed a similar suit against Jocelyn Benson the day after Howard’s lawsuit. The Federalist reported on the lawsuit- In issuing such last-minute guidance “without any formal rulemaking or process,” Benson violated Michigan’s Administrative Procedures Act by merely uploading the guidance onto the Michigan secretary of state’s website, the lawsuit alleges.
The judge in the case has combined both lawsuits.