LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Yates ruled that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s guidance to local clerks regarding absentee ballot signature verification is unconstitutional. The ruling said those signature verification guidelines issued to the clerks cannot contain language which allows them to simply assume the validity of a signature.

Yates did uphold other parts of Benson’s rules, including reasons why a signature might not match. That included  age, disability or the quality of a digitized signature.

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The Republican National Committee and Michigan Republican Party filed the litigation against Benson. Judge Yates is an appointee of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

State Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton Township) issued a statement on the decision:

“Secretary Benson has been giving guidance to clerks that goes against our constitution and against state law. By recognizing Benson’s unconstitutional actions, the court has reinforced the importance of having checks and balances in the election process to protect the voters.”

Rep. Bollin went on to say, “This is the second time a court has ruled Benson tried to overstep her authority. Last time, she turned around and tried to implement the changes again through the administrative rules process. As chair of the House’s Elections committee at the time, I led efforts to oppose her changes. She ignored most of our concerns and moved forward anyway, but the court has now ruled that our concerns were valid. This ruling is a crucial victory for voters and election integrity in our state.”