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AG files brief against Texas election lawsuit

State Rep. Al Cutrona and other Republican state legislators urged Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to join the state of Texas in a lawsuit challenging the election results in four states that President Donald Trump lost.

Yost, a fellow Republican, instead filed a legal brief Thursday in opposition to the lawsuit’s merits.

But Yost did ask the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case.

The Texas lawsuit demands that the 62 total Electoral College votes in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin be invalidated by the Supreme Court. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, a day after the court rejected a bid to reverse Pennsylvania’s certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Trump.

Cutrona, R-Canfield, claims there were election irregularities, a disregard for the election process and violations of the Constitution in the four states.

As of Thursday, 42 Republican members of the Ohio House had signed the letter that states they’re “concerned that Ohio voters are being disenfranchised” by the results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.

LITIGATION

The lawsuit, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, repeats a litany of false, disproven and unsupported allegations about mail-in ballots and voting in the four states, according to the Associated Press. The Wall Street Journal describes the lawsuit as a “longshot.”

It seeks to give state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin the authority to appoint electors to the Electoral College. Biden won all four states on his way to defeating Trump in the presidential election.

Eighteen states Trump won and the outgoing president joined Texas in urging the Supreme Court to hear the lawsuit less than a week before presidential electors formally choose the next president, according to AP. All states have certified their election results. Also, there are issues as to whether Texas has the legal standing to question elections in other states.

WHAT YOST SAID

Yost’s brief states the Supreme Court lacks the authority to order state legislatures in the four states to appoint presidential electors.

“The relief that Texas seeks would undermine a foundational premise of our federalist system: the idea that the states are sovereigns, free to govern themselves,” Yost wrote. “The federal government has only those powers that the Constitution gives to it. And nothing in the Constitution empowers courts to issue orders affirmatively directing the states how to exercise their constitutional authority.”

Yost added: “The courts have no more business ordering the people’s representatives how to choose electors than they do ordering the people themselves how to choose their dinners.”

But Cutrona claims changes made before the election “have cast a great deal of uncertainty as to the outcome of the election in those (four) states.”

He added if the states didn’t administer a legal election, that has “the potential to invalidate the election results of every other state in the country.”

Yost asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether changes made in the four states prior to the election are constitutional.

“It is not unreasonable to wonder — and many millions of Americans do — whether those hastily implemented changes exposed the election systems to vulnerabilities.”

The Electoral College will cast ballots Monday and are expected to finalize Biden’s victory.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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