Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he asked LRB for an opinion on whether the Legislature had the ability to change Wisconsin’s electoral votes after the 2020 election — but only so he could share it with members and constituents who wondered if it was possible.
The liberal group American Oversight, who has filed a series of open records requests with Vos’ office and sued him several times over the requests, posted the Legislative Reference Bureau memo this week.
It was dated Nov. 16, 2020, almost two weeks after the presidential election. Two days later, then-President Trump formally requested a recount of heavily Dem Dane and Milwaukee counties as his campaign lobbed various allegations of improprieties with the Wisconsin election.
American Oversight obtained a similar request that Arizona Senate President Karen Fann made to that Legislature’s general counsel.
LRB’s Michael Gallagher wrote to Vos that the Legislature can determine the manner of selecting presidential electors, but can’t “affect the selection or actions of presidential electors after the election.” Gallagher added the Legislature “has no current statutory role in the appointment and certification of the state’s presidential electors following a presidential election.”
Arizona General Counsel Ken Behringer came to a similar conclusion. He noted the Arizona Legislature has the power to change how electors are appointed. But any changes Arizona lawmakers might make to the process couldn’t be applied to the Nov. 3, 2020, election because it had passed.
“My office, and I’m certain all other legislative offices, received hundreds of emails calling for the withdrawal of Wisconsin’s electoral votes,” Vos said in a statement. “I believed it was unconstitutional, but we asked the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau so we could share the memo with our members and constituents.”
Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, said Vos requesting the memo “raises serious red flags about his intentions.”
“He’s greenlit a phony investigation that wastes taxpayer dollars, questioned the integrity of our elections system, requested a memo on how he can overturn the decision of the people, and has now put forward legislation that would give him even more power over the outcome of our elections,” Neubauer said. “After trying to play moderate, it’s clear that he has prioritized appeasing his extreme members’ wishes.”
Read the memo here.
See more on the records here.