Wisconsin election officials: GOP lawmakers cannot unilaterally select presidential electors

Wisconsin statute does not grant state lawmakers the authority to choose electors, Wisconsin Elections Commission officials said.

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The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. Laura Zimmerman/WPR

Despite national reports that President Donald Trump could ask GOP-controlled Legislatures to choose loyal electors in the event that he loses the election this fall, Wisconsin election officials said Thursday, Sept. 24 such a scenario is all but impossible here.

The Atlantic reported this week that, in addition to potentially claiming fraudulent election results if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 3, Trump has allegedly asked GOP leaders in battleground states to circumvent the state's popular vote and select their own electors to cast votes in the Electoral College, which ultimately determines the winner.

However, Wisconsin statute does not grant state lawmakers the authority to choose electors, Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said Thursday.

"To the best of our knowledge, there's no role for the Legislature to decide which electors go and which ones don't," Magney said.

Magney said representatives with the Democratic, Republican and Constitutional parties will meet in October to select electors. Which electors go to the Electoral College depend on the results of the Nov. 3 election, which are certified by the head of the commission in early December.


After that, Gov. Tony Evers and Secretary of State Doug La Follette send a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration listing the vote totals and electors.

"I think that's laid out pretty directly and in black and white in the Wisconsin state statute in terms of how that process works and there's not room for other things to happen in that process," WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe said on a media call with reporters Thursday.

Any change to that process would necessitate legislative action, but that would require the Legislature, which hasn't formally convened since April, to meet and actively change state law. What's more, under split government, Evers, a Democrat, could veto such an effort.

In the Atlantic article, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party said he has discussed appointing loyal electors with the Trump campaign, adding that "it is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution."

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he has not been contacted on the matter.

"There's no such effort in Wisconsin," Vos said in a statement on Thursday. "The only people who have been working to undermine the election are those who want to ignore the voters in their state and grant electors to the winner of the national popular vote."

"The Electoral College has worked for more than 200 years and I support the current system," Vos said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, did not respond to requests for comment.


Biden leads Trump 50% to 46% among likely Wisconsin voters in the latest


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