PILF Sues Michigan SOS for Southfield Clerk Voting Data

Records Should Reveal Which Voters Sherikia Hawkins Allegedly Attempted to Disenfranchise

(LANSING, MI.) – August 26, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit today against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for failing to disclose voting records related to the 2018 General Election from the City of Southfield (Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Benson).

The Foundation seeks records involving the 193 allegedly altered voter history files from November 2018 that led to six felony charges against Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins.

193 Southfield voters trusted their absentee ballots would be counted in November 2018 without issue,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The criminal allegations surround this case are alarming and must be fully studied to ensure that history doesn’t repeat. The public has a right to know about the voters who had their votes cancelled.

The complaint, filed August 26, explains in part (emphasis added):

“The records requested are voter history records for a small subset of registrants in Southfield, Michigan. Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins allegedly created one voter history record for a subset of Southfield voters indicating that they did not vote in the 2018 election in order to nullify the effect of those registrants casting an absentee ballot. In creating a voter history record indicating that the registrant did not vote, it allowed Hawkins to (allegedly and falsely) disregard and not count the absentee ballots of those voters. When the actions of Hawkins were discovered, yet another voter history record was allegedly created, a truthful one indicating that the voters indeed did cast an absentee ballot. The Foundation merely requests these voter history records as they will indicate the registrants who sent voted absentee ballots to Hawkins and for whom Hawkins has been charged with cancelling their vote … Secretary Benson is denying the Foundation access to the requested records.”

The Foundation seeks relief under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires officials to make voter list maintenance documents like, in this case, voting history documents due to their integral part in triggering systematic voter list functions related to potential inactivity. The law also offers a private right to file a lawsuit if denied.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is leading the nation in enforcing election integrity laws and the National Voter Registration Act, having brought cases in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Maine and filed amicus briefs in litigation across the nation.

The new case was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The case number is 1:20-cv-00818. Counsel for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is Kaylan L. Phillips.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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