Suit Seeks to Throw Out Wisconsin Election Results

A group is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to block certification of the election, let state Legislature choose electors.

By Will Kenneally

November 24, 2020

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Electors meet at the state Capitol in Madison to vote for president in the electoral college Dec. 19, 2016. (Courtesy: Laurel White / WPR)

A group of Wisconsin voters is asking the state Supreme Court to throw out the state’s election results and have the state Legislature pick Wisconsin’s presidential electors.

The group alleges the November, 2020 election was conducted in a way that unconstitutionally favored Democratic stronghold cities that received more funds than rural Wisconsin—and likely more conservative—communities.

This is a similar argument the group, Wisconsin Voters Alliance, presented before a federal court in October arguing that the state’s five largest cities could not receive outside funds from an organization supported by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A federal judge declined their initial request to block the funds.

The alliance argues that the funds must be disbursed by the state rather than be allocated directly to counties. Federal coronavirus aid funding for elections passed by Congress in the spring was disbursed to counties and municipalities by the Wisconsin Elections Commission through a subgrant program.

Segment from Here & Now on July 10, 2020.

“The State of Wisconsin, and the [cities that received outside funding] in particular, violated the Equal Protection Clause by obtaining and providing more funding for the absentee voting than other counties who did not receive [outside] funding,” the group wrote in their filing.

The group also alleges broad impropriety in the election, similar to challenges raised in the state’s partial recount, which include allowing voters to falsely identify as indefinitely confined and improperly filling out missing information on absentee ballot envelopes.

The state’s chief elections official has said there were no irregularities in the November election, though the suit largely calls into question the process itself.

“This litigation seeks to disenfranchise every Wisconsinite who voted in the 2020 presidential election,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, who is also an elected Democrat, wrote in response to the suit. “[The Department of Justice] will ensure that Wisconsin’s presidential electors are selected based on the will of the more than 3 million Wisconsin voters who cast a ballot.”

The group is asking the state’s high court to hear the suit as an original action, and requests the court block the Wisconsin Elections Commission from otherwise certifying the results of the election.

Under the U.S. Constitution, state legislatures are ultimately responsible for appointing electors to the electoral college. In Wisconsin, the 10 electors are chosen by each party on the presidential ballot before the election, and the winning party’s electors are the ones who cast the state’s votes.

The alliance believes the state Legislature can re-assert that power to choose electors, even after an election has taken place.

The court ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to respond to the suit by Friday, and other parties to weigh in on the suit by Monday. The elections commission faces a Dec. 1 deadline to certify the election results.

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