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Politics & Elections

AG Raoul, Other Attorneys General, Oppose Texas Lawsuit to Overturn Election Results

Capitol News Illinois file photo

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined onto a legal brief, along with a coalition of 22 other Democratic attorneys general, that is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a lawsuit brought by the Texas Attorney General seeking to overturn the presidential election results in four states won by President-elect Joe Biden.

The Texas lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this week is the latest legal effort by President Donald Trump and his Republican allies to challenge the authenticity of Biden’s victory. Trump has filed a motion to intervene in the Texas lawsuit.

All 50 states have certified their election results, and presidential electors from each state are expected to convene the Electoral College on Monday and cast their votes for the candidate who won their state.

The lawsuit, submitted by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has been joined by 17 other Republican attorneys general in arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court should block the presidential electors in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania from voting in the Electoral College because those states allegedly implemented unconstitutional changes to their mail-in and absentee voting rules prior to the election.

Illinois Republican Congressmen Mike Bost and Darin LaHood joined a separate legal brief, along with 123 other Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, supporting Texas’ lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In opposition to Texas’ lawsuit, Raoul and the coalition of Democratic attorneys general maintain that this interpretation of the U.S. Constitution is not supported by centuries of legal precedent and it would prevent states from making decisions to regulate and administer their own elections.

“It is concerning and dangerous that the president and his allies have spent the weeks following the election seeking to undermine its results, as elections are at the very core of our democracy. Further, it is unconscionable that a state attorney general would use his authority to file a frivolous, unfounded lawsuit aimed at overturning an election,” Raoul said in a press release.

The argument in Texas’ lawsuit claims the four states violated the Electors Clause in the U.S. Constitution which states, in part, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

“Certain officials in (Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania) presented the (COVID-19) pandemic as the justification for ignoring state laws regarding absentee and mail-in voting,” the Texas lawsuit states. “Those changes are inconsistent with relevant state laws and were made by non-legislative entities, without any consent by the state legislatures. The acts of these officials thus directly violated the Constitution.”

Paxton’s lawsuit also argues that the states’ changes to mail-in and absentee voting made the 2020 election less secure because those changes “did away with statutory ballot-security measures for absentee and mail-in ballots such as signature verification, witness requirements, and statutorily authorized secure ballot drop-off locations,” according to the lawsuit.

Raoul and the coalition of attorneys general assert the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Electors Clause in a way that allows legislatures to delegate authority to elections administrators or other state government entities. 

The Democratic attorneys general also argue that Texas’ request that the U.S. Supreme Court intervene in the states’ elections would infringe on the rights of individual states to conduct their elections.

Their legal brief disputes the claim that the election process in the four contested states was not secure — citing a Federal Election Commission official’s recent statement there is “simply no basis” for the “theory that voting by mail causes fraud,” and a declaration from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that “[t]he November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”

Last month, the Associated Press reported that the FBI opened an investigating into allegations that Paxton committed bribery and abused his office to help an Austin real estate developer.

On Friday, during a Fox News interview, Paxton was asked about the reported FBI investigation and the accusation that he is filing this lawsuit to curry favor with Trump in hopes of receiving a presidential pardon.

Paxton called the accusation “ridiculous.”

“I’ve been working on these issues for the last year. We had 12 lawsuits in Texas that dealt with mail-in ballots, that dealt with voter certification, that dealt with all types of election issues, and this is just one more,” Paxton said.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.