GOP Files Lawsuit Over Michigan Secretary Of State’s Handling Of Absentee Ballots

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Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit Thursday against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson over the handling of absentee ballots.

The lawsuit alleges that Benson secretly tried to circumvent the state’s absentee voting safeguards, claiming that the party found that the secretary of state issued private instructions to local election officials ahead of the 2024 February primary election. Benson allegedly instructed the election officials in private that they must presume the validity of absentee voter’s signatures, the lawsuit shows. (RELATED: State Official Faces Lawsuit From GOP Over ‘Impossibly High’ Voter Registration)

“Michigan’s State Constitution is very clear: election officials have to verify the identity of voters casting absentee ballots. Jocelyn Benson is yet again working to undermine election integrity by secretly instructing officials to disregard and circumvent these clear requirements. The RNC is suing Benson because Michiganders deserve election integrity, not underhanded Democrat schemes,” RNC co-chairman Michael Whatley said in a press release.

US President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Citizens Medal to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2023. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Whatley speaks at the Republican National Committee (RNC) Spring meeting on March 8, 2024, in Houston, Texas. The RNC elected Whatley as chairman and Lara Trump co-chair of the committee, tightening the former president’s grip over the party ahead of the November election. (Photo by CECILE CLOCHERET/AFP via Getty Images)

The RNC’s Thursday lawsuit is the second against Benson in the last month. The party sued Michigan’s Secretary of State on March 14, alleging that the state failed to abide by the National Voter Registration Act’s (NVRA) requirement that voter rolls must keep “clean and accurate voter registration records.”

“As Michigan’s chief election officer my responsibility is to ensure our elections are secure, accessible, and that the results are an accurate reflection of the will of the people. We’ve worked hard in Michigan to put secure identification procedures in place to ensure every valid vote and only valid votes count,” Benson told the Daily Caller in a statement.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 12: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, testify during a hearing before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2024 in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on “Administration of Upcoming Elections.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (L) and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks before former President Barack Obama campaigns for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the rest of the democrat ticket at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan, on October 29, 2022. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

US Vice President Kamala Harris(L) holds a listening session about voting rights with Michigan State Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and community advocates in Detroit, Michigan on July 12, 2021. – The Vice President will hold a voting rights listening session and then will deliver remarks at a vaccine mobilization event. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

“We will continue to do that work, no matter how many frivolous lawsuits and other seeds of doubt untrustworthy actors attempt to plant in their un-American effort to diminish voters’ confidence in our elections and their democracy,” the statement continued.

Voters arrive to cast their ballots in the Michigan primary election at McDonald Elementary School on February 27, 2024 in Dearborn, Michigan. The Michigan Democratic and Republican parties held their primary elections today. Republican presidential candidate, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley has vowed to stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday on March 5. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Voters arrive to cast their ballots in the Michigan primary election at McDonald Elementary School on February 27, 2024 in Dearborn, Michigan. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The RNC alleged that its analysis found inflated voter rolls throughout Michigan. The lawsuit alleges that more than 90% of Michigan’s counties have “inflated voter rolls.” Of those counties, 53 allegedly have more active registered voters than adult citizens over the age of 18, the lawsuit shows.

“Let’s call this what it is: a PR campaign masquerading as a meritless lawsuit filled with baseless accusations that seek to diminish people’s faith in the security of our elections. Shame on anyone who abuses the legal process to sow seeds of doubt in our democracy,” Benson told the Daily Caller about the March 14 lawsuit.

The latest RNC lawsuit is a part of the party’s fight for election integrity. Despite the ongoing push, many battleground states still have some laws in place that Republicans have previously decried during the 2020 election, according to a recent Daily Caller analysis. In an effort to make changes to the standing state laws, the RNC is currently working hand in hand with NRCC and the NRSC on an expansive election integrity effort, the Daily Caller investigation revealed. (RELATED: ‘They Are Miles Ahead’: Despite ‘Election Integrity’ Hype, GOP Could Be Walking Into 2024 Legal Buzzsaw)