President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and election officials in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday in a last-ditch attempt to throw out votes in Milwaukee and Dane counties and overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state.
The lawsuit asks the high court — which is controlled 4-3 by conservatives — to withdraw Evers’ certification. The court is also considering whether to hear two other lawsuits seeking to invalidate ballots.
The court’s justices asked Evers to file a brief by 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, indicating that they hope to decide quickly whether to take the case. Attorneys representing Wisconsin’s electors, which include Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, filed a motion Tuesday night requesting that the court deny the case.
The opposing brief argues that discarding votes from Dane and Milwaukee counties while voters in other countries followed the same instructions would violate the state Constitution and federal law. It also argues that the Trump lawsuit is “rife with factual allegations subject to dispute.”
Trump’s lawsuit challenges over 220,000 ballots cast by voters in the two counties, which turned out heavily for Biden. The lawsuit takes issue with votes cast through in-person absentee voting and from voters who said they were “indefinitely confined.”
Indefinitely confined voters are not required to show photo ID. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in March that voters can determine whether they are indefinitely confined.
In addition, the lawsuit challenges ballots where clerks filled in a missing witness address. Guidance from the elections commission permitting that process has been in effect since October 2016.
The lawsuit also challenges over 17,000 ballots collected during “Democracy in the Park” events in Madison. Madison’s city clerk defended the events back in September, saying that it did not constitute in-person absentee voting because polls workers did not issue ballots at the parks.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul tweeted that the case does not claim that any voters were ineligible to vote, but “seeks to disenfranchise these voters based on post-election interpretations of the law that voters obviously couldn’t have known about when they cast their ballots.”
Under federal law, the state’s determination of the results will be respected if challenges to the outcome are resolved by Dec. 8, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Wisconsin’s presidential electors will meet on Dec. 14 to cast ten votes for Biden.
Similar lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign have failed in other battleground states.
Separately, Republican Derrick Van Orden, who lost Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District race, said Tuesday that he was included as a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn the election results without his permission.
The suit, filed by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, contains several factual errors. One such error is that the lawsuit seeks video footage of vote counting in the TCF Center, which is in Detroit, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Elections commissioners argue over certification
In an Elections Commission meeting Tuesday, Republican Commissioner Dean Knudson asked chairwoman Ann Jacobs to resign after she finalized Biden’s win on Monday without consulting the commission. State law gives the commission leader the power to confirm the election results.
Jacobs said she would not step down, stating that she followed the law. Democratic Commissioner Mark Thomsen said he handled election results the same way as Jacobs when he chaired the commission in 2016, when Trump won Wisconsin by a similar margin.
The bipartisan commission’s meetings have been contentious throughout the election season. Commissioners fought for over six hours earlier in November before voting to move forward with the partial recount in Dane and Milwaukee County.
Incoming Sen. Melissa Agard Sargent, D-Monona, criticized Knudson for claiming that the certification of ballots was illegal and that no results should be certified in the state.
“The comments made by Commissioner Knudson are extremely harmful to our democracy. It is clear that he is following the marching orders of the outgoing President who continues to undermine our election results and file baseless lawsuits in a reckless attempt to overturn the will of the people here in Wisconsin and around the country,” Agard said.
state news writer