President Trump, having been shot down by multiple courts in his attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin, today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the state’s Nov. 3 election “failed” and have the GOP-controlled Legislature appoint presidential electors.
Trump’s campaign filed a petition to have the U.S. Supreme Court review a state Supreme Court ruling that found the president waited too long to file challenges to more than 50,000 absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin.
The campaign also filed a motion for an expedited schedule in the hopes of having a ruling before Jan. 6, when Congress meets to finalize the Electoral College vote. That went 306-232 for Biden. Along with Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, Trump is challenging Pennsylvania’s 20 before the U.S. Supreme Court, while other suits seeking to overturn state results are pending as well.
The petition argues the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, if left in place, would require presidential candidates to constantly monitor all election practices in numerous municipalities.
“To force a candidate, in the midst of the campaign, to continuously monitor ever-shifting election procedures and guess at which ones may impact the result, and expend scarce resources on preemptive litigation for fear of later being deemed barred from suit based on laches, would create a cloud of confusion, uncertainty, and ambiguity substantially burdening the First Amendment right to engage in election advocacy,” the filing argues.
A split state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 earlier this month that Trump waited too long to challenge three categories of absentee ballots cast in Dane and Milwaukee counties, a principle known as laches.
Today’s filing argues it violates the U.S. Constitution for a state court to use the “judge-made doctrine of laches” in a post-election challenge to require the counting of ballots that violated state law. It also argues the state Supreme Court violated the Constitution by upholding the counting of more than 50,000 absentee ballots based on the decisions of elected officials that “ignore or circumvent state statutes.”
The challenge includes:
*more than 28,395 absentee ballots cast by those in Dane, Milwaukee counties who claimed indefinitely confined status. Voters who claim that status aren’t required to submit a photo ID before casting their absentee ballot.
*4,469 where clerks filled in missing info from witnesses. The state Elections Commission has had advice in place since October 2016 that clerks can fill in missing information such as a witness ZIP code.
*17,271 collected at Madison’s “Democracy in the Park” events. The city put paid poll workers in 200 parks to collect absentee ballots.
Trump’s suit in state courts also challenged more than 170,000 ballots that were cast early, in-person, alleging the envelope used for those ballots were insufficient to meet the state requirement of a written application for an absentee ballot. Along with the majority ruling that argument was raised too late, the conservatives who dissented didn’t embrace the suggestion in their dissents.