Group renews call for Dane Co. DA to investigate Wisconsin’s alternate electors

MADISON, Wis. — A small group rallied outside the Dane County Courthouse Thursday to renew their calls for District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to investigate the so-called “alternate electors,” a group of Republicans who falsely claimed former President Donald Trump won Wisconsin in the 2020 election.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Law Forward staff counsel Mel Barnes and Matt Rothschild, the executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, were among those who spoke Thursday.

Barnes said not taking action against the alternate electors would set a dangerous precedent and could mean something similar happens in a close election.

“We can not allow this brazen behavior, this idea that brazen political actors can usurp the role of voters, to become a regular feature of our elections,” she said.

Rothschild, meanwhile, said Ozanne has “a legal, a moral and historical obligation” to indict the alternate electors.

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In May, Law Forward, a liberal law firm, filed a lawsuit against the electors and two attorneys in Dane County. That suit was later moved to a federal court, though the group has argued the case should return to the county level “because there is no basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction over this case.”

In late June, the alternate electors asked the federal court to throw out the case, arguing it “is nothing more than a further attempt to seek political retribution, grab headlines, and further smear the names of the Defendants.”

In a memo supporting their motion to dismiss the case, they argued they didn’t violate any laws and that Democrats in Hawaii submitted an alternate slate of electors following the 1960 election.

“… The Alternate Elector Defendants’ conduct complied with Wisconsin and Federal law, which expressly allows, and sets forth procedures, for Congress to determine between competing electoral slates,” the memo reads. “Indeed, the very Wisconsin statutes that Plaintiffs contend were violated unequivocally demonstrate that the Alternate Elector Defendants were acting in accordance with those statutes.”

In an email to News 3 Now Thursday afternoon, Ozanne said he was aware of the rally “and the request of certain groups in the community.

“We take issues of election integrity very seriously,” he wrote.

President Joe Biden beat Trump in Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. A recount confirmed Biden’s win, and reviews of the election have not shown sufficient evidence of fraud that would overturn the results.