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Election workers recount ballots at the presidential election recount at the Wisconsin Center on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Milwaukee. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
Election workers recount ballots at the presidential election recount at the Wisconsin Center on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Milwaukee. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Republicans sue to stop Wisconsin vote certification

MADISON, Wis. — Republicans filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to block certification of the presidential election results even as a recount over President-elect Joe Biden’s win over President Donald Trump is ongoing.

The lawsuit echoes many of the same arguments Trump is making in trying, unsuccessfully, to have tens of thousands of ballots discounted during the recount. It also seeks to give the power to name presidential electors to the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Wisconsin state law allows the political parties to pick electors, which was done in October. Once the election results are certified, which is scheduled to be done Dec. 1, those pre-determined electors will cast their ballots for the winner on Dec. 14.

“The litigation filed this afternoon seeks to disenfranchise every Wisconsinite who voted in this year’s presidential election,” said Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. “The Wisconsin 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 lawsuit also rehashes a claim that a federal court rejected in September that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to “illegally circumvent Wisconsin absentee voting laws” through grants awarded by a nonprofit center he funds.

At least 10 cases have been filed across the country seeking to halt certification in parts or all of key battleground states, including lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign in Michigan and Pennsylvania. So far none have been successful.

The Wisconsin lawsuit was filed by attorney Erick Kaardal, a former Minnesota Republican Party official who also represented rapper Kanye West in his unsuccessful lawsuit attempting to get on the ballot in Wisconsin. Kaardal represents a conservative group called the Wisconsin Voters Alliance and a host of Republican voters.

Kaardal also filed an unsuccessful federal lawsuit in Wisconsin that attempted to block $6.3 million from being awarded to five heavily Democratic cities from the nonprofit Center for Technology and Civic Life, which is primarily funded by Zuckerberg and his wife. A judge tossed the lawsuit that argued the money amounted to bribery to bolster Democratic turnout in Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine.

Many of the same arguments alleging the money was illegally awarded and therefore the election results should be nullified are being made in the new lawsuit in state court.

Other claims mirror those by Trump’s campaign.  Those claims allege absentee ballots should not have been counted where election officials filled in missing information on the certification envelope that contains the ballot and that voters who identified as “indefinitely confined” were lying to avoid the state’s photo ID law.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission advises clerks that they can fill in missing information on the ballot envelopes, such as the address of a witness. That’s been the practice for years, and it’s never been challenged.

Biden won Wisconsin by 20,608 votes, but the lawsuit claims that more than 156,000 ballots should be tossed out.

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