The state of Texas on Tuesday filed an election lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, alleging that the states unconstitutionally changed election laws, treated voters unequally, and triggered significant voting irregularities by relaxing ballot-integrity measures.
“Plaintiff State respectfully submits that the foregoing types of electoral irregularities exceed the hanging-chad saga of the 2000 election in their degree of departure from both state and federal law,” the Supreme Court motion (pdf) states. “Moreover, these flaws cumulatively preclude knowing who legitimately won the 2020 election and threaten to cloud all future elections.”
The lawsuit seeks a determination by the court that the four battleground states conducted the 2020 election in violation of the Constitution. Texas is asking the Supreme Court to prohibit the counting of the Electoral College votes cast by the four states. For the states which have already appointed electors, the lawsuit asks the court to direct the state legislatures to appoint new electors in line with the Constitution.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the challenge on the day of the so-called safe-harbor deadline. The cumulative electoral votes in the four states are enough to determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
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“Trust in the integrity of our election processes is sacrosanct and binds our citizenry and the States in this Union together. Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin destroyed that trust and compromised the security and integrity of the 2020 election,” Paxton said in a statement.
“The states violated statutes enacted by their duly elected legislatures, thereby violating the Constitution. By ignoring both state and federal law, these states have not only tainted the integrity of their own citizens’ vote, but of Texas and every other state that held lawful elections,” he added. “Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election. We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error.”
The Trump campaign and third-party groups have pending legal challenges in all of the states, but to date, only a lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania Republicans has escalated to the nation’s highest court. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered briefs for that case to be submitted by Tuesday morning, signaling that a decision on a temporary restraining order is imminent.
The primary argument by the plaintiff centers on the enactment of election laws, rules, and procedures in the four states which allegedly breached the Constitution’s divestment of the power to appoint electors to state legislatures.
For example, the secretaries of state in Pennsylvania and Georgia “abrogated” state statutes requiring “signature verification for absentee or mail-in ballots,” the lawsuit states.
In Wisconsin, the state’s election commission “and other local officials unconstitutionally modified Wisconsin election laws—each time taking steps that weakened, or did away with, established security procedures” established “to ensure absentee ballot integrity.” The Wisconsin Election Commission, for example, undertook a campaign to set up ballot drop boxes throughout the states, including unmanned ones.