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A Better Partnership
October 12, 2015

COA determines that a member of the public lacks standing because the statute provides no legal cause of action for the public

In White v. Highland Park Election Commission, No. 329222, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge MCL 168.674(2), an election statute, because her legal cause of action was no different than any other member of the public.  The statute requires appointment of at least one election inspector from each major party.  The Commission did not appoint any Republican inspectors.  Plaintiff brought suit.  The trial court determined:  1) the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the political party composition because the statute designated that right to the county chairs of major political parties; and 2) the defendants did not violate MCL 168.674(2) because no Republican representatives applied to be an election inspector. 
                        
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s finding because the statute provides no legal cause of action for the public to enforce its provisions.  Instead, the statute allows county chairs to file administrative appeals to challenge the inspector appointments.  The administrative appeals process is made available only to county chairs of major political parties.  The plaintiff did not allege the she is a resident of Highland Park or have any other substantial interest in the statute’s enforcement, and therefore, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue for a perceived violation of MCL 168.674(2).

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