President Donald Trump has lost a Wisconsin lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots and overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, the latest in a string of legal defeats.
Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek ruled against every argument Trump made challenging ballots in the state’s two largest counties, saying the election was properly administered and there was no wrongdoing as the president alleged.
“The bottom line here is that the court should do everything to ensure that the will of the voters prevail,” the judge said.
Trump planned to quickly appeal the ruling to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court, even though his chances there appear to be slim. He also has a federal lawsuit in Wisconsin where the judge could rule as soon as Friday.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court previously refused to hear Trump’s state case before it went through the lower courts. A majority of justices have also openly questioned whether disqualifying the ballots, as Trump wants, would be appropriate.
Trump has urged lower court judges to rule quickly in the cases so he can file appeals before the Electoral College meets on Monday and casts Wisconsin’s 10 votes for Biden. That set up the possibility of a rare weekend ruling from the state Supreme Court.
Biden won Wisconsin by about 20,600 votes, a margin of 0.6% that withstood a Trump-requested recount in the state’s two largest counties, Milwaukee and Dane. Trump did not challenge any ballots cast in the counties he won.
Trump wanted to disqualify absentee ballots cast early and in-person, saying there wasn’t a proper written request made for the ballots; absentee ballots cast by people who claimed “indefinitely confined” status; absentee ballots collected by poll workers at Madison parks; and absentee ballots where clerks filled in missing information on ballot envelopes.