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Wisconsin election officials: GOP lawmakers cannot unilaterally select presidential electors
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Wisconsin election officials: GOP lawmakers cannot unilaterally select presidential electors

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WI election official: GOP lawmakers cannot override Electoral College vote

Electoral College voter Brad Courtney of Whitefish Bay signs documents after Wisconsin's Republican Electoral College voters gathered to cast votes for President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the State Capitol in 2016.

Despite national reports that President Donald Trump could ask GOP-controlled Legislatures to choose loyal electors in the event that he loses the election this fall, Wisconsin election officials said Thursday such a scenario is all but impossible here.

The Atlantic reported this week that, in addition to potentially claiming fraudulent election results if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden on Nov. 3, Trump has allegedly asked GOP leaders in battleground states to circumvent the state’s popular vote and select their own electors to cast votes in the Electoral College, which ultimately determines the winner.

However, Wisconsin statute does not grant state lawmakers the authority to choose electors, Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said Thursday.

“To the best of our knowledge, there’s no role for the Legislature to decide which electors go and which ones don’t,” Magney said.

Magney said representatives with the Democratic, Republican and Constitutional parties will meet in October to select electors. Which electors go to the Electoral College depend on the results of the Nov. 3 election, which are certified by the head of the commission in early December.

After that, Gov. Tony Evers and Secretary of State Doug La Follette send a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration listing the vote totals and electors.

“I think that’s laid out pretty directly and in black and white in the Wisconsin state statute in terms of how that process works and there’s not room for other things to happen in that process,” WEC administrator Meagan Wolfe said on a media call with reporters Thursday.

Any change to that process would necessitate legislative action, but that would require the Legislature, which hasn’t formally convened since April, to meet and actively change state law. What’s more, under split government, Evers, a Democrat, could veto such an effort.

In the Atlantic article, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party said he has discussed appointing loyal electors with the Trump campaign, adding that “it is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution.”

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he has not been contacted on the matter.

“There’s no such effort in Wisconsin,” Vos said in a statement on Thursday. “The only people who have been working to undermine the election are those who want to ignore the voters in their state and grant electors to the winner of the national popular vote.”

“The Electoral College has worked for more than 200 years and I support the current system,” Vos said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, did not respond to requests for comment.

Biden leads Trump 50% to 46% among likely Wisconsin voters in the latest UW-Madison Elections Research Center/Wisconsin State Journal poll.

Follow the Wisconsin State Journal's 2020 presidential election coverage

The candidates for the Nov. 3 election have accepted their party nominations. Who will win the key battleground state of Wisconsin?

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Big margins in northern Wisconsin were critical to President Donald Trump's 2016 win in Wisconsin.

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At one point, Baldwin was considered near the top of Biden's list of potential picks to run alongside him for the presidency this fall.

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Kicking off the DNC on Wednesday from the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Evers expressed regret that the convention, which shifted last week to a mostly online event due to COVID-19, could not be held in-person.

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"As we all recognize, it’s not exactly what we thought it was going to be, but what we’ve been forced to deal with," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said of the first-of-its-kind convention.

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In addition to once boasting more than 50,000 visitors and hundreds of millions of tourism dollars, Milwaukee's political bash also aimed to cleanse Democrats' palate of Trump's margin-thin victory over Hillary Clinton here in 2016.

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Biden leads Trump 49% to 43% among Wisconsin respondents. Biden's lead in Wisconsin widens to 52% to 44% among voters who say they are "certain" to vote in November.

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Biden led by a 6-point margin among likely voters over Trump in a June Marquette poll.

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Republican President Donald Trump also has caused controversy for saying he might deliver acceptance speech at White House.

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Community organizers in Milwaukee have shifted their voter outreach programs to focus on mail-in absentee ballot education.

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The poll also found former Vice President Joe Biden widening his lead over President Donald Trump in the state and a declining concern among Wisconsinites over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Perceptions of whether or not the president delivered on the promises he made during his 2016 campaign differ drastically along party lines.

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The latest poll's results come as Wisconsin faces unprecedented unemployment numbers, which have risen sharply following state efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by shutting down some businesses or limiting services at others.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won the state four years ago, was still in the race when the polls closed last Tuesday, but he suspended his campaign the following day — nearly a week before results would be reported. On Monday, he endorsed Joe Biden.

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Organizers are searching for ways to empower voters in communities of color and low-income areas that saw a decrease in turnout during the 2016 general election. 

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As the remaining Democratic presidential candidates look to begin large-scale campaign efforts in Wisconsin, they enter a battleground state that already has received considerable attention from President Donald Trump.

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In this week’s Front Page podcast, Wisconsin State Journal state and politics reporter Mitchell Schmidt discusses the field of candidates, the upsets, the victories, and what Wisconsin voters will have to look forward to, as we near the Democratic National Convention.

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All other major candidates in the race received between 9 and 17% support.

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In the general election, President Donald Trump faces a tight race against the Democratic field in Wisconsin.

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Results of a new Wisconsin state-wide poll, released Sunday, show Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in a commanding lead ahead of Democratic presidential nominees. But, given the surprise outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the question remains: How accurate are political polls in an election year?

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UW-Madison's Elections Research Center plans to launch a new poll to complement the Marquette Law School Poll.

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