Wisconsin judge rejects Trump campaign lawsuit


A judge in Wisconsin ruled against another Trump campaign lawsuit, paving the way for an appeal.

The lawsuit was first filed directly to the state’s Supreme Court earlier in December and sought to invalidate up to 221,000 ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties, both Democratic strongholds. The Supreme Court then refused to hear the case before it went through the lower courts, so the campaign refiled, and, on Friday, a judge ruled against it.

A campaign official told the Washington Examiner after the ruling that Trump's team will be filing the appeal on Friday.

“There is no credible evidence of misconduct or wide-scale fraud,” said Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek from the bench during his ruling.

Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek rules that there was no evidence of fraud or misconduct in the 2020 Presidential election on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Madison, Wis. Simanek ruled against every argument President Donald Trump made challenging ballots in the state’s two largest counties, saying the election was properly administered and there was no wrongdoing as the president alleged.

(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

The Trump campaign had centered its Wisconsin legal argument upon four key points: absentee ballots issued for in-person voting without applications, clerical editions of missing information on ballot envelopes, “involuntarily confined voters,” and “Democracy in the Park” events held in Dane County.

One of those points, indefinitely confined voters, has been a concern that the state GOP had raised prior to the election and resulting litigation. Voters in the state are allowed to self-certify as “indefinitely confined” if they cannot leave their home for a reason like an illness and don’t have to show a photo identification to vote. Clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties suggested in March that people could list themselves as indefinitely confined because of the pandemic. The GOP took legal action, and the Supreme Court sided with Republicans and said the advice was “legally incorrect.”

The campaign also alleged that about 5,500 absentee ballot envelopes were improperly edited by clerks because they were missing details like the address of a ballot witness. Wisconsin state law stipulates that “if a certificate is missing the address of a witness, the ballot may not be counted.” The Wisconsin Elections Commission issued guidance that said clerks could fix, or cure, addresses if they were able to locate the information, although that guidance isn’t law, and the campaign argues that only the voter or the witness can legally fix the information.

Trump campaign lawyer Jim Troupis told the Washington Examiner earlier in December that he was confident about the lawsuit’s odds, calling the litigation “the real deal.” The Trump campaign had initiated a recount in the two counties, and Troupis said because of that, the team was able to get the explicit names of the people he claims voted illegally under state law.

Simanek on Friday ruled against all four of the points Troupis and President Trump’s legal team made in the case. He denied that there was any electoral malfeasance and that the Nov. 3 election was conducted legally, according to the Associated Press.

“The bottom line here is that the court should do everything to ensure that the will of the voters prevail,” the judge said.

Friday Ruling
Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek rules that there was no evidence of fraud or misconduct in the 2020 Presidential election on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 in Madison, Wis.

(Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

The Washington Examiner reached out to the Trump campaign to confirm that it would be appealing to the state Supreme Court and for further comment about the Friday ruling but did not immediately receive a response.

The loss came just days before the Electoral College will meet and is expected to cast Wisconsin’s 10 votes in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. Biden defeated Trump in the Badger State by about 21,000 votes, a slim 0.6-point margin.

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