Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign speech at the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, U.S., September 21, 2020.
Mark Makela | Reuters
Three plaintiffs whose federal lawsuit sought to invalidate all of the ballots in three Wisconsin counties that gave President-elect Joe Biden well more than his approximately 20,000 vote margin of victory in that state told a judge Monday that they were dismissing their case.
The court filing by lawyers for plaintiffs, Michael Langenhorst, Michael LeMay and Stephen Fifrick, did not say they were voluntarily dismissing their claim in the case, which was backed by the conservative election group True the Vote.
The notice of dismissal filed Monday said the claim was being dropped “without prejudice against” the defendants, which means the plaintiffs reserved their right to make the claims again.
When the suit was filed, the plaintiffs argued that there was evidence of enough illegal mail-in ballots counted in the three counties to invalidate the election results.
The case was one of several filed by allies of President Donald Trump and Trump’s own campaign as part of an effort to reverse Biden’s projected win in the national race for the White House.
Those efforts have largely failed to gain traction and it is not clear that Trump has any chance of overturning his loss through legal actions. But that has not stopped the president both from claiming otherwise and from falsely claiming that he won the election.
The Wisconsin suit was filed just last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. The named defendants included the clerks of the three counties, Wisconsin’s elections director and Elections Commission chair, Gov. Tony Evers, and other officials.
The plaintiffs had argued that votes in the counties of Milwaukee, Dane and Menominee should be tossed out because “the sudden flood” of mail-in ballots had left election workers unable to carefully review those ballots for fraudulent ones.
James Bopp, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, when asked why the case was dismissed, told CNBC in an email, that because of attorney-client privilege “and because I do not telegraph my next moves, I cannot comment.”
Lawyers for defendants in the case did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The law firm Law Forward, which was founded to challenge challenge conservative election and voting-related legal efforts, said the dismissal was “an exercise in efficiency.”
“This case was entirely without merit and the plaintiffs saved the court the trouble of saying so,” said Jeff Mandell, president of Law Forward, in a statement.
Biden, the Democratic former vice president, narrowly defeated the Republican Trump in Wisconsin, which has 10 Electoral College votes.
Biden received 1.63 million votes to 1.61 million votes for Trump, a margin of 49.5% to 48.8%.
Trump has said he wants a recount of the votes in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee County went heavily for Biden, giving him more than 69% percent of the ballots cast. The actual vote margin in that county was more than 180,000 ballots for Biden.
Biden also far exceeded Trump in Dane County, which Biden won by 75.5% of the ballots
In Menominee County, which had relatively few voters, Biden crushed Trump with 1,303 votes to just 278 votes for the incumbent.
Even if Trump could somehow reverse the official vote results in Wisconsin, it would not be enough, on its own, to undo Biden’s projected victory in the Electoral College.
With all 50 states results projected as of last Friday, Biden has 306 Electoral College votes, compared to just 232 votes for Trump.