President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The president and his failed re-election campaign made erroneous claims of voter fraud across the country while actually attempting to suppress the vote in Detroit.

LANSING, Mich.—President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden, despite federal courts dismissing more than two dozen lawsuits filed on behalf of his campaign that claimed voter fraud but never actually substantiated the claim in court.

Now, three Black Michiganders are fighting back against attempts to suppress local votes.

“Central to this strategy is disenfranchising voters in predominantly Black cities, including Detroit, by blocking certification of election results from those cities or counties where they are located.” 

In fact, the state’s board of canvassers scheduled a 1 p.m. meeting on Monday to certify Michigan’s election results.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are listed as Maureen Taylor, Teasha Jones, and Nicole Hill. The Detroit women named both the president’s re-election campaign and Trump directly in the lawsuit, along with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, of which Taylor serves as state chairperson. 

The lawsuit says Trump and his campaign have continued to claim “widespread fraud in Detroit and other cities with large Black populations, including Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, in an effort to suggest votes from those cities should not be counted,” and claims that the president’s efforts effectively suppress the legitimately cast ballots of eligible voters.

The three Wayne County residents are calling the campaign’s latest judiciary attempt “the worst abuses in our nation’s history.”

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The suit was filed one day after the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, made claims in a press conference that Trump’s  campaign had discovered some 300,000 “illegitimate ballots” that were mostly cast in Philadelphia and in Detroit, Michigan’s biggest—and Blackest—city.

“These ballots were all cast basically in Detroit that Biden won 80-20,” Giuliani said at the press event. “So you see it changes the result of the election in Michigan, if you take out Wayne County.”

City of Detroit officials say his assertions aren’t true, and the Wayne County courts back them up. Circuit Judge Timothy Kneey said the president and his team’s “interpretation of events” was “incorrect and not credible,” according to a Detroit News report.

Biden won Wayne County with 597,170 votes, according to official county records, while the president received 264,553 votes—that’s a margin of more than 200,000 votes in Detroit.

TIMELINE

Trump has brought legal actions across the country—mostly in battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—in an attempt at stopping election results from being certified. Georgia has already certified its election results and key counties in battleground states like Arizona and Pennsylvania have done the same

The lawsuit from three Black Michiganders comes on the heels of the president meeting with state lawmakers at the White House on Friday, Nov. 20, in addition to personally calling the two Republican members of the four-person Wayne County Board of Canvassers. The phone call prompted the two to rescind their certification of Wayne County’s results, an action Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office determined to not be permitted.

The highly unprecedented in-person meeting was attended by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield. 

He and Shirkey were at the White House for nearly two hours, according to an ABC News report.

“We used our time in the White House to deliver a letter to President Trump making clear our support for additional federal funds to Michigan in the fight against COVID-19,” the two said in a joint statement.

Chattfield later told the press, and reiterated on social media, that “whoever gets the most votes will win Michigan,” in an effort to distance himself from impropriety. 

On the same day that the Michigan lawmakers met with the president, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed its own lawsuit against Trump and his re-election campaign on behalf of Detroit voters.

“As Black Americans were denied a voice in American democracy for most of the first two centuries of the Republic…this is a moment that many of us hoped to never face,” the NAACP’s complaint reads.

“No more,” it continues. “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 flatly prohibits Defendants’ efforts to disengage from Black people and assault our Republic.”

Michigan’s state Board of Canvassers met to certify election results on Monday at 1 p.m. The pending litigation is not expected to stop certification of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes for the Biden-Harris ticket. Local press noted the meeting included more than two hours of public comment.

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