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Image: Michigan State Capitol
The state capitol building is shown on Dec. 12, 2012 in Lansing, Michigan.Carlos Osorio / AP file

After 2020, Trump backers forged election docs in three states

Groups of Republicans in three states signed their names to forged documents, pretended they were real, and sent them to government agencies.


Wisconsin Republicans did not respond well to the state's election results in November 2020, when Donald Trump narrowly lost the state. In fact, after the state Supreme Court affirmed President Joe Biden's victory in Wisconsin, and it came time for state officials to complete the process, some Republicans went in an especially ridiculous direction.

It was on Dec. 14, 2020, when Wisconsin electors met in the state capitol for an official ceremony in which the state formally assigned its electors for the electoral college. There wasn't anything unusual about this: On the same day, every state did this, with Trump electors being assigned in states won by the GOP ticket, and Biden electors being assigned in states won by the Democratic ticket.

But as we discussed a couple of weeks ago, the process in the Badger State became a little messier: While the actual electors were being assigned inside the state capitol in Madison, a group of Wisconsin Republicans quietly held a separate, fake ceremony — in the same capitol, at the same time — to cast electoral votes for Trump, despite his defeat in the state.

They then proceeded to forge the official paperwork and sent it to, among others, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Archivist, as if the materials were legitimate. They were not.

As Rachel noted on last night's show, that's an important controversy in its own right, but what we didn't know until yesterday was that Wisconsin wasn't alone. Politico reported:

As Trump's team pushed its discredited voter fraud narrative, the National Archives received forged certificates of ascertainment declaring him and then-Vice President Mike Pence the winners of both Michigan and Arizona and their electors after the 2020 election. Public records requests show the secretaries of state for those states sent those certificates to the Jan. 6 panel, along with correspondence between the National Archives and state officials about the documents.

I have three questions.

First, were these efforts legal? Groups of Republicans in three states signed their names to forged documents, pretended they were real, and sent them to government agencies. I'm not an attorney and can't speak with any authority on whether this constituted fraud, but I'll be eager to learn what legal experts have to say about the schemes.

Second, did these GOP groups have any outside help? The materials out of Wisconsin and Michigan, for example, were practically identical, with matching formatting and fonts. Was this an amazing coincidence or was there some kind of behind-the-scenes coordination? If so, who played an organizing role?

And third, exactly how many states featured pro-Trump Republicans creating forged election materials? We previously knew of one; now we know of three.

Trump lost 25 states in 2020. How many of them included election opponents willing to send fake documents to government offices?