Two Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have joined a federal lawsuit that seeks to block the counting of Electoral College votes from several contested states when Congress meets in a joint session on Jan. 6.
Wisconsin state Reps. Jeff Mursau and David Steffen signed onto a suit filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society and the Wisconsin Voters Alliance, among others. Also included in the list of plaintiffs are two GOP members of the Michigan House, Reps. Matt Maddock and Daire Rendon, according to the complaint (pdf).
Attorney Erick Kaardal of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society argued in the complaint that the state legislatures of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona were prevented from exercising their power under the U.S. Constitution to certify the presidential electors’ votes cast on Dec. 14.
“State legislative post-election certifications of Presidential votes and of Presidential electors are part of constitutionally-protected voting rights,” Kaardal wrote. “Everyone who votes—distinguishable from those who don’t—have a constitutionally-protected interest in state legislative post-election certification of Presidential electors. The Defendants violate those voting rights by counting ballots of Presidential electors without the constitutionally-required state legislative post-election certification.”
Under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, presidential electors must be appointed by each state in the manner prescribed by the state’s legislature.
Kaardal argued that a number of federal and state laws had unconstitutionally delegated the authority of state legislatures to certify these votes to state executive branches.
“There are textual and structural arguments for these state statutes being unconstitutional,” he wrote in the lawsuit, arguing that the state laws are an “unconstitutional delegation of the state legislative prerogatives of post-election certifications of Presidential votes and of Presidential electors.”
The lawsuit also argues that state legislatures, many of which are adjourned until January 2021, are also being prevented from meeting to perform their post-election certification duty. In order to conduct a special legislative session, a supermajority or a governor must agree that legislators should meet. However, the group said the governors from these states are preventing the state legislatures from doing so.
“The very body that is responsible for how these electors are selected, can’t even meet after the election, up through January. So that’s unconstitutional, in that it’s a delegation of authority to a governor of a legislative function. That is not allowed,” Phill Kline, director of the Amistad Project, told The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program.
The defendants in the lawsuit include Vice President Mike Pence, both houses of Congress, and officials from the five battleground states.
The lawsuit asks the court to prevent Pence, who will be counting the Electoral College votes, and Congress from counting votes from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin until their state legislatures are able to meet to certify the votes.
It comes as Republican lawmakers are weighing whether to launch a challenge to Electoral College votes in contested states on Jan. 6.
Janita Kan and Jan Jekielek contributed to this report.