The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday rejected President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, ending Trump’s legal challenges in state court about an hour before the Electoral College was to meet to cast the state’s 10 votes for Biden.
The court held arguments in the case Saturday, the same day a federal judge dismissed another Trump lawsuit seeking to overturn his loss in Wisconsin. Trump appealed that ruling.
The president sought to have more than 221,000 ballots disqualified in Dane and Milwaukee counties, the state’s two most heavily Democratic counties. In a 4-3 ruling, Justice Brian Hagedorn, a conservative writing for the majority, said the Trump campaign was “not entitled to the relief it seeks.”
Hagedorn used a sports analogy when ruling against Trump, saying he waited too long to raise his complaints.
“Our laws allow the challenge flag to be thrown regarding various aspects of election administration,” Hagedorn wrote. “The challenges raised by the Campaign in this case, however, come long after the last play or even the last game; the Campaign is challenging the rulebook adopted before the season began.”
Trump wanted to disqualify absentee ballots cast early and in-person, saying there wasn’t a proper written request made for the ballots; absentee ballots cast by people who claimed “indefinitely confined” status; absentee ballots collected by poll workers at Madison parks; and absentee ballots where clerks filled in missing information on ballot envelopes.
The court ruled that Trump’s challenge to voters who were indefinitely confined was without merit and that the other claims came too late.
Liberal justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky, who sided with Hagedorn, wrote separately to emphasize that there was no evidence of fraud in Wisconsin’s election.
“Wisconsin voters complied with the election rulebook,” Dallet and Karofksy said. “No penalties were committed and the final score was the result of a free and fair election.”
Karofsky blasted Trumps’ case during Saturday’s hearing, saying it “smacks of racism” and was “un-American.” Conservative justices voiced some concerns about how certain ballots were cast, while also questioning whether they could or should disqualify votes only in two counties.
Biden won Wisconsin by about 20,600 votes, a margin of 0.6 per cent that withstood a Trump-requested recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties, the two with the most Democratic votes. Trump did not challenge any ballots cast in the counties he won.
Trump and his allies have suffered dozens of defeats in Wisconsin and across the country in lawsuits that rely on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud and election abuse.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate Biden’s win by throwing out millions of votes in four battleground states, including Wisconsin.
Also Saturday, former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a federal case she lost in Wisconsin seeking to order the GOP-controlled Legislature to declare Trump the winner. Powell has also lost similar cases in Georgia and Arizona.