A proposal from a Wisconsin state legislator aimed at withdrawing the state’s 2020 electoral votes is being distorted on social media and conservative news sites in an attempt to push baseless claims that the election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump.
“BREAKING: Wisconsin Assembly Votes to Withdraw Its 10 Electors for Joe Biden in 2020 Election,” reads a Jan. 26 Facebook post from the page Prime Time Patriots that accumulated more than 500 reactions within a day. “Arizona may be next. A lot is happening behind the scenes. Not a done deal with a lot of hurdles, but what a great start! KEEP FIGHTING!”
Similar versions of the claim went viral on Twitter and Facebook, where users circulated a Jan. 25 article from The Gateway Pundit headlined, “***HUGE BREAKING NEWS** – Wisconsin Assembly Votes to Advance Rep. Ramthun’s Resolution to Reclaim Wisconsin’s Electors for President and Vice President That Were Certified Under Fraudulent Purposes.”
Among those who shared the article was MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is facing a defamation lawsuit from Dominion and has previously falsely claimed that Trump will be reinstated as president. In a Jan. 26 Facebook post he wrote, “Pull down the election! Wisconsin could be first!” Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake shared the article on Twitter with the caption, “Arizona should be next!”
But there was no vote on removing the state’s 10 electoral votes for President Joe Biden, as claimed. And no resolution to that end advanced anywhere.
A lone Republican state representative introduced a resolution devoid of cosponsors that was referred to the Rules Committee – a procedural move required by Assembly rules – and then rejected by Assembly leaders, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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When asked about his claim, Lindell provided no evidence such an action was moving forward. USA TODAY reached out to The Gateway Pundit and the social media users for additional comment.
The rumor stems from a resolution introduced on Jan. 25 by state Rep. Timothy Ramthun, R-Campbellsport, in which he alleged Wisconsin’s electoral ballots were “certified under fraudulent intent and purpose.” For more than a year, Ramthun has falsely claimed Trump won the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election.
Ramthun’s proposal was then referred to the Rules Committee, a move that is required under Wisconsin’s Assembly rules. But Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, chairman of the committee, called the resolution illegal and “plain unconstitutional.”
“As chair of the Rules Committee, there is ZERO chance I will advance this illegal resolution,” Steineke wrote in a Jan. 25 tweet. He also disputed The Gateway Pundit’s claim that a vote took place.
Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes, and a hand recount, audits and several lawsuits have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would affect the state’s election outcome. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the head of Wisconsin’s elections board certified Biden’s victory in the state on Nov. 30.
In a Nov. 21, 2021, memo, Katie Bender-Olson and Peggy Hurley, attorneys for the Wisconsin Legislature, wrote that there is “no mechanism in state or federal law for the Legislature to reverse certified votes cast by the Electoral College and counted by Congress.”
USA TODAY has previously debunked similar claims that the Wisconsin Legislature will decertify the state’s election results and award its electoral votes to Trump.
Fact check: How we know the 2020 election results were legitimate, not ‘rigged’ as Donald Trump claims
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Wisconsin legislators voted to withdraw the state’s 10 electoral votes for Biden in the 2020 election. Ramthun introduced a proposal, but there was no vote. The chairman of the Rules Committee called the resolution illegal and clarified that he has no plans to advance it. Biden won the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 election, and there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Contributing: Molly Beck
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