BELLAIRE — An attorney for a local man who accused Antrim County of voter fraud is appealing a judge’s dismissal of an election-related lawsuit, records filed in 13th Circuit Court show.
Matthew DePerno, who on Thursday announced his candidacy for Michigan Attorney General, filed the claim of appeal Wednesday on behalf of Bill Bailey, of Central Lake Township.
Bailey filed suit Nov. 23, accusing the county of voter fraud and of violating his constitutional rights, after initial results of the 2020 Presidential election showed about 2,000 votes cast for then-President Donald Trump had mistakenly been assigned to then-challenger Joe Biden.
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Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy acknowledged her office’s human error, an assertion backed by the state’s Senate Oversight Committee, which last month released a 55-page report rejecting claims of widespread election fraud in Antrim County and in Michigan.
Bailey also accused the county of diluting his vote, after a marijuana proposal, allowing a single dispensary in the Village of Central Lake passed by a single vote.
Records show Bailey is registered to vote in Central Lake Township, and only voters registered in the Village of Central Lake received ballots which included the marijuana proposal.
On May 18, 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer dismissed the lawsuit, ruling the court had already provided Bailey with all the relief available to him.
That relief included signing a court order in early December allowing Bailey’s forensic team access to the county’s election equipment and placing the equipment under a protective seal.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, an intervening defendant, then sent Bureau of Elections staff to the Kearney Township Hall on Dec. 17, to train local volunteer poll workers for a hand recount of the county’s presidential election and later conducted statewide audits.
Elsenheimer noted both these events in his dismissal.
“I am saying that, as pled, the plaintiff’s request for an audit is not available,” Elsenheimer said in his oral decision.
Deperno on June 10 filed a motion for reconsideration, asking the judge to revisit the dismissal which Elsenheimer denied June 25.
DePerno had argued a hand recount of all ballots cast in the county’s 2020 presidential election was “insufficient and premised on fraud” and that a case study conducted by a plaintiff’s expert witness provided new evidence.
“The Court finds that the Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration presents the same issues previously ruled on by the Court, either expressly or by reasonable implication,” the judge said, in his written decision.
Throughout the U.S., hundreds of lawsuits challenging balloting issues, election equipment or the results of the 2020 election have been filed in local, state and federal courts, information from the American Bar Association shows.
When it was dismissed, the Antrim County suit was among the few still active, records show.