The case was one of the last challenges to the November election results still pending in the nation’s courts. Its dismissal comes as Trump and his supporters have been pushing to conduct audits around the country in hopes of uncovering issues they say willsupport Trump’s baseless claims that he defeated President Biden.
Trump issued a statement last week referring to the case as “the major Michigan Election Fraud case” and highlighting a new filing from the plaintiffs that argued votes had been switched from Trump to Biden. “The number of votes is MASSIVE and determinative. This will prove true in numerous other States,” Trump said.
But Elsenheimer ruled that a statewide post-election audit conducted by Michigan’s secretary of state’s office that concluded in March — which found the election had been conducted fairly and accurately — was sufficient to satisfy a state law that allows voters to request audits.
Because of that, he said, the suit was moot, and he granted a motion to dismiss sought by Michigan’s secretary of state and the clerk of Antrim County.
During the hearing, Elsenheimer said he was not concluding whether the election data was “corrupted or corruptible,” a finding that he said was not possible with the information available to him and not required by law.
“I am saying that, as pled, the plaintiff’s request for an audit is not available,” he said.
Elsenheimer is among more than 90 state and federal judges who have dismissed challenges to the election results filed by Trump or his allies around the country since Election Day.
“Today’s dismissal of the last of the lawsuits attempting to undermine democracy in furtherance of the #BigLie affirms that despite incredible scrutiny & an unprecedented effort to deceive, the 2020 election was fair, secure & the results accurately reflect the will of the people,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a tweet, referring to the false claim that the election was stolen.
Trump supporters have been focused on Antrim County since an error not long after polls closed in November led the county to briefly report that Joe Biden had defeated Trump by more than 3,000 votes in the heavily Republican area.
Election officials quickly established that the issue was caused by human error, saying a clerk’s failure to update software just before the election was responsible for the incorrect tally, which was rapidly updated to reflect Trump’s victory.
However, Trump and his supporters have insisted that Antrim’s initial error might be a sign of faulty or manipulated machines that cost him votes elsewhere. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, a Michigan resident, held a news conference days after the election where she decried a “major software issue in Antrim County” that she said could hold implications for the election in other areas.
Local resident William Bailey filed his suit Nov. 23. In early December, Elsenheimer, a former Republican state lawmaker, ordered that a private firm based in Texas that was working with Bailey be given access to the county’s voting machines to examine them for possible problems, creating excitement for Trump just as he was trying to challenge certification of Biden’s win.
The firm, Allied Security Operations Group, produced a report within days that asserted a vast conspiracy to rig the election.
But an expert analysis of the report conducted on behalf of the Michigan attorney general and secretary of state found it was riddled with inaccuracies.
And a subsequent hand recount of Antrim’s presidential ballots confirmed that the county’s voting machines had tabulated the results accurately.