State Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray has ruled invalid Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's guidance issued to Michigan clerks in early October that instructed them to presume the accuracy of absentee ballot signatures.
Because Benson did not go through the proper rule-making process when issuing the guidance, clerks do not need to comply with it for future elections, Murray ruled last week.
"The presumption is found nowhere in state law," wrote Murray, an appointee of Republican former Gov. John Engler. "The mandatory presumption goes beyond the realm of mere advice and direction, and instead is a substantive directive that adds to the pertinent signature-matching standards."