Trump campaign lawsuit seeks to toss in-person, indefinitely confined, Democracy in the Park absentee ballots

MADISON, Wis. — The Trump campaign is trying to throw out tens of thousands of votes in Dane and Milwaukee counties as part of a lawsuit it filed Tuesday in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The lawsuit follows up on the same claims the campaign used to justify the recount.

If successful, anyone who voted absentee in Dane or Milwaukee counties is at risk of losing their vote in this election.

Lawyers argue ballots from in-person absentee, indefinitely confined voters and from Madison’s Democracy in the Park events aren’t valid — but only the last type is new this year.

Madison’s city attorney, who checked off the two-weekend event, is confident Trump’s lawyers are wrong.

“The Trump campaign certainly has a right to go to court to continue to challenge anything about the election,” said Mike Haas, the Madison city attorney. “In my view though, this has been entirely vetted before the election. We’re very confident that the program was legal.”

He said more than 10% of Madison’s ballots came from Democracy in the Park, but if invalidated they wouldn’t necessarily be the ones thrown out. Absentee ballots would be randomly picked.

At an elections commission meeting mayors, clerks and new poll workers defended the election in the state.

“I have joked with my family since the election that anyone who is worried about the security of elections should spend some time with experienced poll workers because they’re the most fair-minded and detail-oriented people I have ever met,” said Annaliese Collier, who worked as a poll worker in Madison for the November election.

The commission itself still disagrees on the process.

A Republican on the elections commission called on the chair to resign, claiming she broke the law when she signed off on the election on Monday.

“I’ve lost all confidence in you as the chair,” said Commissioner Dean Knudson. “I can’t see that we can go forward as a group. I don’t think you realize even at this moment how much you have destroyed the bipartisan nature of what has gone on.”

The chair, Democrat Ann Jacobs, said she wouldn’t step down.

“What I did was not illegal,” she said. “You are misinformed about what took place and absolutely incorrect.”

The commission administrator said in a statement Monday that the process the chair followed this year is the exact same as the process the chair followed in 2016.

Gov. Tony Evers – who is the main defendant in the lawsuit –  filed his response Tuesday night.

Evers said the petition “seeks nothing less than to overturn the will of nearly 3.3 million Wisconsin voters. It is a shocking and outrageous assault on our democracy. The relief he seeks is wrong as a matter of law, incorrect as a matter of fact, and mistaken as a matter of procedure.”

Evers went on to say the allegations of illegal votes are false, as the election procedures are “rooted in longstanding practice” and have been allowed by the elections commission.

“President Trump alleges no miscounting or other error that would call into question the intent of Wisconsin’s voters. Instead, he seeks to win in court what he lost in the election.”

Evers’ response kicks off a tight window for the state Supreme Court to make a decision before the state electors have to vote in less than two weeks.