Federal judges in Michigan and Georgia on Monday denied Republican efforts to undo the certification of President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, rejecting two of the lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump supporter Sidney Powell.
In the Michigan case, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker for the Eastern District of Michigan said the allegations of fraud were based on “nothing but speculation and conjecture." She added that the closest the lawsuit got to alleging that ballots cast for Trump were changed by the voting machinery to votes for Biden is this statement in an affidavit: “I believe some of these workers were changing votes that had been cast for Donald Trump and other Republican candidates.”
But the judge said “a belief is not evidence” and falls short of the kind of allegation necessary to support the motion to undo certification. The claims amounted to “an amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation that such alterations were possible,” she said.
Parker was also harshly critical of the plaintiffs — Trump presidential electors — for waiting so long to file their lawsuit.
“This ship has sailed,” she said, adding that the lawsuit was “moot well before it was filed on November 25.”
The electors could have taken advantage of the procedures spelled out in state law to challenge an election or allege misconduct or a failure of vote-counting systems, the judge said, “Yet they sat back and did nothing."
Not only that, but the electors failed to make a case that their claim of vote dilution (that the impact of their votes was watered down by counting improper ballots) would be redressed by having a federal judge decertify the results, Parker said.
“The harm of having one’s vote invalidated or diluted is not remedied by denying millions of others their right to vote,” she said.
In Georgia, District Judge Timothy Batten for the Northern District of Georgia said the plaintiffs in that case were wrong to ask him to rule on what were essentially state law claims.
"They ask the court to order the secretary of state to decertify the election results, as if such a mechanism exists. And I find that it does not," he said.
Batten also said the lawsuit sought a sweeping order invalidating the election results.
"They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of 2.5 million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden, and this I am unwilling to do," he said.
By mid-afternoon Monday, Powell had not said whether she would appeal either decision.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who re-certified Biden's election victory in the state Monday, said in response to the dismissal of the case that it was "an important day for election integrity in Georgia and across the country."
Referring to Powell's vow to "release the Kraken" with her lawsuits, Raffensperger, a Republican, said those claims "prove to be as mythological as the creature for which they’re named. Georgians can now move forward knowing that their votes, and only their legal votes, were counted accurately, fairly and reliably.”