10 of the alternative electors for Donald Trump in the 2020 election and two of the former president’s lawyers are facing the real prospect of a civil lawsuit in Wisconsin according to Just the News. This prospect was made possible after a judge refused to motion to dismiss the case. The allegation against these defendants – that they were part of a pro-Trump conspiracy to overturn the presidential election – was levied by two Democratic electors and a voter. The remedy sought is $2.4 million and the disqualification of these Republicans from serving as electors again.
Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington permitted the civil litigation to advance forward and has scheduled a jury trial to commence in September 2024 – just two months before the next presidential election. Dane County is a heavily Democratic area as it includes the capital city of Madison. In 2020, it went for Biden by 75.7 percent in a battleground state where Biden officially got 49.6 percent of the vote. The jury being from this area would if selected at random be heavily favored toward the prosecution by partisan lean alone.
Despite these hurdles, Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Mark Jefferson expressed confidence that this lawsuit shall “come up short.” By contrast, Scott Thompson, one of the prosecuting attorneys, commented that “Our democracy matters…So, we must seek accountability for those who attempt to undermine it.” The allegation seems to revolve around the submission of an alternative slate of electors for Congress’s consideration that contested the official result and declared the state’s votes for Mr. Trump in 2020.
To the knowledge of this author, there is no precedent for suing electors for filing an alternative slate to Congress. Instances of an alternative slate of electors being submitted happened in American history in the controversial elections of 1876 and 1960. Commenting upon the latter election, POLITICO remarked that “the unofficial Democratic certificates, obtained by POLITICO from the non-digitized files of the National Archives, show the three Kennedy electors signed documents [from Hawaii] that are remarkably similar to the false Trump-elector certificates.” In 1961, then-Vice President Nixon chose to count the alternative slate of electors by Kennedy from Hawaii over a slate that declared that he won the state.
In neither the 1867 nor 1960 was any elector investigated and prosecuted over these submissions. Nixon, unlike Trump, was not branded as a criminal and prosecuted by the federal government over this.
Nothing was mentioned about this act being illegal (because it was not considered to be so). If the act of submitting an alternative slate is not in violation of the law then it is hard to see what case can be brought against the electors.