Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit directly with the U.S. Supreme Court, accusing officials in four battleground states of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to make unconstitutional last-minute changes to mail-in voting rules.
Paxton, a vocal supporter of President Trump, argues that officials in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin "violated statutes enacted by their duly elected legislatures" in order to allow for increased mail-in balloting, thereby violating the Constitution. Because of the states' mail-in vote meddling, he alleges at present that electors for the states should not be allowed to cast their Electoral College votes.
"The four states exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election," reads a Tuesday press release announcing the lawsuit. "The battleground states flooded their people with unlawful ballot applications and ballots while ignoring statutory requirements as to how they were received, evaluated and counted."
The lawsuit, which includes similar allegations made by President Trump and his allies, was filed on the "safe harbor deadline" for states to settle election disputes and lock in their presidential electors, but ahead of the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote. In the suit, Paxton is requesting that the Supreme Court delay the Electoral College vote and allow for investigations into election fraud to be completed.
"Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election," Paxton stated in the press release. "We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error."
Paxton was able to file the suit with the Supreme Court because the high court has exclusive jurisdiction over legal disputes between states, the Hill noted. In the filing, the Texas attorney general also argued that the nation's highest court is the only judicial body capable of handling such an important case dealing with the Electoral College.
If the court should fail to intervene before the Electoral College vote is cast, "a grave cloud will hang over not only the presidency but also the republic," Paxton argued.
The filing was met with immediate criticism from some officials in the four battleground states.
"The motion filed by the Texas attorney general is a publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading," blasted Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement. "The erosion of confidence in our democratic system isn't attributable to the good people of Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia or Pennsylvania but rather to partisan officials, like Mr. Paxton, who place loyalty to a person over loyalty to their country."
Katie Byrd, spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, argued that Paxton "is constitutionally, legally and factually wrong" about the state.