How Arizona’s slate of electors planned to deliver Trump a second presidential term

By Richard Ruelas | Arizona Republic

A photo posted on Twitter by the Republican Party of Arizona showed the electors sitting in prayer before casting their votes for Donald Trump on Dec. 14, 2020. Despite Joe Biden winning Arizona, the Republicans filed documents with Congress falsely claiming to be Arizona’s true electors.

The certified election results showed that their candidate, President Donald Trump, had lost the election in Arizona. Undaunted, the 11 would-be Trump electors met at state Republican Party headquarters and cast their votes for their man anyway.

This was no empty exercise, though. At least not as envisioned.

The 11 Republicans wanted to create an alternate slate of electors from Arizona.

They signed a document that avowed that they represented the true electoral votes from Arizona. They then sent that document to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives by registered mail.

The point of this, as laid out in court filings and public statements from the time, was to find a path that would allow Trump, despite a certified loss of the election, to serve a second term as President of the United States.

It would not work. Top Arizona lawmakers would not go along. Courts refused to endorse the scheme. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to entertain it.

But the competing slates of electors, who falsely claimed that Arizona’s votes should go to Trump, have drawn new scrutiny this year, as those who signed it have declined to answer questions about precisely who convened the group and why. 

The Congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, as part of its wide-ranging investigation into that incursion, has started investigating how the slates of Trump electors in Arizona and a handful of states came to be.

More:Here are people with ties to Arizona who face charges in Capitol riot

References to it are in subpoenas issued to former Trump officials. The order holding former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt also made mention of text messages that showed he was aware of the plan, even sending one message that said “Have a team on it.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, joined at left by Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., gives his impressions of the day-long meeting behind closed-doors with Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, as House Democrats proceed with the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

President Biden mentioned the competing slates of electors sent to Congress during his Wednesday news conference. “I doubt that anybody thought that would ever happen in America in the 21st century,” Biden said, “but it’s happening.”

The Attorneys General in Michigan and New Mexico, two other states where Republicans created alternate slates of electors, have referred the matter to federal prosecutors in their states. 


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January 2022