Cline, Cline & Griffin attorneys Tim Knecht, Paul Vance and Nancy Chinonis recently represented attorney Bernhardt 'Chris' D. Christenson before the Michigan Court of Claims in an effort to get Mr. Christenson’s name on the ballot for Genesee County Circuit Court Judge after the State Board of Canvasssers upheld a challenge to the sufficiency of Mr. Christenson’s nominating petitions.
On May 14, 2020, another candidate for circuit judge filed a challenge to Mr. Christenson’s nominating petitions, arguing they were insufficient because the address included in the heading of the petitions was Mr. Christenson’s campaign office address and not his residence address. The State Board of Canvassers upheld the challenge which meant Mr. Christenson would not appear on the ballot for the upcoming primary election. Following the ruling by the Board of Canvassers, Cline, Cline & Griffin sought the extraordinary remedy of a writ of mandamus seeking to overturn the decision of the Board and add Mr. Christenson to the primary ballot.
As argued by Cline, Cline & Griffin before the Michigan Court of Claims, the plain language of this state’s election law does not require use of a candidate’s residence address on nominating petition headings. On this basis, the Michigan Court of Claims granted Mr. Christenson’s request for a writ of mandamus and ordered the Secretary of State to accept Mr. Christenson’s petitions, such that he be added to the August 4, 2020 primary ballot for Genesee County Circuit Court Judge.