Fact check: Right-wing website falsely claims Wisconsin Convention voted to withdraw its Biden electoral votes

The saga began with the first headline of The Gateway Pandit. It read: “**HUGE BREAKING NEWS** – Wisconsin Assembly votes to withdraw its 10 voters for Joe Biden in 2020 election – VIDEO.”

The headline was repeated on Twitter Kari Lake, a Republican candidate for Governor of Arizona. Lake — who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has more than 100,000 Twitter followers, and has repeatedly lied about the 2020 election — wrote in her tweet, “Arizona should be next!”
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who has more than 178,000 Twitter followers, then amplified Lake’s tweet and added from Arizona: “We should have been the first!”

When The Gateway Pandit updated its article on Tuesday, it changed the headline to make a narrower claim. The revised headline said the “HUGE BREAKING NEWS” was that the Wisconsin Convention had voted to “move forward” a Legislative Resolution to withdraw the state electors.

But the narrower assertion was also wrong.

facts first: The Gateway Expert’s claims were completely inaccurate. The Wisconsin State Assembly did not vote to withdraw its 2020 electors and did not vote to pass a resolution to withdraw those electors. In fact, the assembly did not vote on this resolution at all. Rather, the resolution has been referred to an assembly committee, where there is an overwhelming likelihood that it will die. The Republican chairman of the committee, who is also the majority leader of the convention, correctly says it is unconstitutional. There is no legal way for Wisconsin or any other state to withdraw its 2020 electoral college in 2022.

Here’s what actually happened Tuesday at the Wisconsin congregation.

A Republican member of the assembly, State Rep. Timothy Ramthun, presented a “privileged” resolution in favor of “recapturing” the state’s 10 Biden electoral votes, which the resolution falsely claims are “fraudulent.” The then-convention chairman, Pro Tempore Republican Speaker Tyler August, was quick to refer the resolution to the convention’s Rules Committee – because referral to the committee is a required step, according to the assembly rulesfor “privileged” resolutions that the assembly does not take up immediately.

That’s it.

Contrary to the text of the revised Gateway Pandit article, it is not true that the Assembly voted “unanimously by oral vote” to “proceed” Ramthun’s resolution. In fact, the very video clip that Gateway Pandit embedded in the article and promoted in the headline proves this claim to be false.

The video shows that Ramthun introduced the election resolution shortly before a vote on a completely independent law. After August referred the resolution to the Rules Committee, the Assembly proceeded with the independent vote. This independent vote is the vote shown in the video posted by The Gateway Pandit. The election resolution itself was not voted on.

The fake Gateway Pandit story circulated online the same day US Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN that federal prosecutors were reviewing bogus electoral college certificates in which Trump allies considered Trump a winner from states he had actually lost. Wisconsin was one of seven states for which a list of fake Trump electors was sent to the National Archives.

The Gateway Pandit, Ramthun’s office, Lake’s campaign and the Arizona Republican Party did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment Wednesday.

An unconstitutional proposal

Ramthun’s resolution will almost certainly fail in the rules committee. Just like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did reportedRepublican Convention leaders have rejected the proposal.
Rep. Jim Steineke, the Assembly Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chairman (not running for re-election), posted a series of fact checks on Twitter after The Gateway Pandit’s claims began to spread. And Steineke wrote of the proposal by Ramthun himself: “Rep Ramthun has just attempted to pass an Assembly resolution to call off WI’s presidential election. Not only is it illegal, it is simply unconstitutional. As Chairman of the Rules of Procedure Committee, I have ZERO chance of moving this illegal resolution forward. #End of the story.”
Steinke was right. There is no constitutional way for Wisconsin or any other state to remove its 2020 electors. Ongoing right-wing effort to “decertify” Biden-won results in key states — like effort Lake supports in Arizona – are hopeless.

The 2020 presidential election process is simply over – and has been for more than a year.

After Biden, Trump struck through in Wisconsin more than 20,000 votesDemocratic Gov. Tony Evers, on November 30, 2020, certified Biden victory in the state. Legitimate voters, including the 10 Biden electors from Wisconsin, cast their votes on December 14, 2020 at the Electoral College, formalizing Biden’s 306-232 victory over Trump. Congress confirmed Biden’s victory when it counted the electoral vote on January 6, 2021. Biden was sworn in as President on January 20, 2021.
Edward FoleyDirector of the Voting Rights Program at Ohio State University, said in an email Wednesday, “It is not possible to change the identity of state-appointed voters after they have cast their electoral ballots — and certainly not after Congress confirmed the winner by a majority of the Electoral College at the joint Twelfth Amendment session, and then the President-elect was sworn in two weeks later, on January 20.”
Steineke isn’t the only Republican leader in Wisconsin to agree. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that assembly speaker Robin Vos dismissed Ramthun’s proposal in comments to reporters last week, saying that “every attorney we’ve worked with in Wisconsin says we can’t undo the 2020 election.”

Comments are closed.