Judge to mull decision on Antrim election case

May 11—BELLAIRE — A judge has granted a defense motion to quash, or cancel, more than a dozen subpoenas seeking extensive township-level voting data — the latest action in an ongoing election-related lawsuit in Antrim County.

A Central Lake Township man, Bill Bailey, filed suit Nov. 23, accusing the county of voter fraud, and Judge Kevin Elsenheimer on Monday heard arguments on multiple defense motions, including one to ask him to dismiss the case.

Elsenheimer's decision on whether to dismiss the lawsuit is expected as soon as May 18.

That's the same day a hearing is scheduled on a motion by Bailey's attorney, Matthew DePerno, to amend the original complaint and add Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater and Grand-Rapids based subcontractor, Election Source, to the list of defendants.

In December, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, represented by attorneys with the state's Attorney General's office, successfully filed a motion to be added to the case as a named defendant.

In recent hearings DePerno and Assistant Attorney General Erik Grill have each taken swipes at the other for discovery delays and the judge referenced timeliness in his ruling Monday.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if Mr. DePerno, Mr Bailey, believed that there was a problem or an issue that could be developed through discovery in the other townships, that that would have come in a timely way," Elsenheimer said.

"It did not come," the judge added. "It is now May 10, we are outside discovery, and the court believes the additional expense, annoyance, work associated . . . would exceed the value of discovery that they would produce."

Several area attorneys representing the various 15 named townships attended the remote hearing. Elsenheimer invited them to stay for the rest of the hearing as arguments on other issues developed, but none did.

DePerno previously subpoenaed several non-party Michigan counties, seeking their voting data, and defense motions filed in 13th Circuit Court to quash those subpoenas were granted by Elsenheimer last month.

DePerno had argued obtaining the data from the other counties was critical for his case, and said the same of the township data.

"There's no review of any race below the presidential race," DePerno argued, prior to the judge's ruling. "We haven't inspected absentee ballots, we haven't inspected the envelopes that come with absentee ballots, we haven't looked a signatures, we haven't looked at the type of paper that was used in these ballots, we haven't looked at how the absentee ballots were folded, we haven't looked at any of that stuff."

In Maricopa County, Arizona, a judge ruled the Republican-led Senate there could hire a third-party contractor to conduct an audit of the 2.1 million ballots cast in the 2020 election.

News outlets The Washington Post, Forbes, Business Insider and others reported the auditor is directing workers to check ballots for bamboo in an effort to prove a conspiracy theory regarding Chinese interference.

DePerno referenced Maricopa County during the motion hearing Monday, as an example of an audit that looked at actual ballots, rather than data only.

The auditor hired in Maricopa County is Doug Logan of Florida-based Cyber Ninjas, who DePerno recently added to the expert witness list in Bailey's lawsuit.

On behalf of Bailey, DePerno has argued Antrim County's Dominion Voting Systems equipment is pre-programmed for fraud — a claim Dominion has repeatedly denied.

DePerno on Monday also referenced a video he and others have circulated online, of a ballot being fed into a ballot tabulator he said proves there was fraud in Antrim County's 2020 election.

In a statement, Dominion said such efforts seek to raise funds.

"Conspiracy theorists are deceiving voters about the election in order to raise money, making false and defamatory statements about Dominion in the process," Dominion said in a statement.

"The latest videos continue to ignore the thousands of post-election audits and hand recounts of voter-verified paper ballots that prove Dominion systems are accurate and reliable. We continue to take an evidence-based approach toward holding people accountable for lies."

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 18 at 1:30 p.m., where Elsenheimer hopes to render a decision on dismissing the case, and also hear arguments on adding defendants and allowing an amended complaint.