President Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on August 2, 2018. (Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com)
President Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on August 2, 2018. (Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com)

State law will prevent a GOP legislature from appointing its own slate to the Electoral College.

While President Donald Trump’s campaign is, according to a newly published report in The Atlantic, looking into contingency plans to overrule election results by having Republican legislators appoint Trump loyalists as Electoral College representatives, that effort would be “a nothing burger” in Wisconsin, said Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney on Friday.

The Trump campaign’s plan, according to The Atlantic report, would rely on Trump using claims of widespread voter fraud (as he has already done numerous times without evidence) to ask states with Republican-controlled Legislatures to throw out the popular vote result and appoint electors that would cast votes for Trump instead.

There are 538 votes in the Electoral College, and each state gets a share of electors equal to their number of Congressional seats; in Wisconsin, that is 10. Under Wisconsin statutes, parties on the state’s presidential ticket—for this year, Democrats, Republicans, and the Constitution Party—choose 10 electors, and the electors of whichever party’s candidate wins the popular vote formally cast votes in the Electoral College after the general election.

“Wisconsin’s Legislature does not have a role in deciding which electors go to the Electoral College after the election,” Magney said.

Wisconsin’s electors will be chosen on Oct. 6, and the election will be held on Nov. 3. Official results won’t be known until all of the ballots are counted from a surge of absentee ballots brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The Elections Commission will then officially certify the results on Dec. 1, and Gov. Tony Evers and Secretary of State Doug LaFollette will then forward the results to the federal government.

“That’s how that works,” Magney said. “There is nowhere in state law that says the Legislature gets to decide, the Legislature gets to overrule. It’s not in there.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “there’s no such effort in Wisconsin” and he has not been contacted by the Trump campaign.

The Legislature does have the power to pass new laws, but the Democratic Evers would be able to veto any legislation that would allow such a power grab by Trump. 

However, Magney acknowledged, electoral laws may differ from state to state. 

Lawrence Tabas, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, another key swing state, told The Atlantic he had discussed the possibility of overruling the state’s popular vote with the Trump campaign. 

“It is one of the available legal options set forth in the Constitution,” Tabas said, according to The Atlantic.

During a Thursday call with reporters, Meagan Wolfe, the Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator, danced around questions about Trump’s reported plan.

“I don’t think that hypotheticals are especially helpful in elections,” Wolfe said. “We deal in facts and so that’s my world, is the facts and mechanics of elections.”