Politics

Gov. Dunleavy says his administration will support Texas’ effort to overturn the presidential election

JUNEAU — After seven Republican state lawmakers officially signaled their support for Texas’ effort to overturn the results of the presidential election, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday said his administration will officially support the cause as well.

If Texas’ effort is successful, it would nullify election results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, states won by President-elect Joe Biden. It could also have wide-ranging impacts on other states that loosened voting restrictions under certain circumstances — including Alaska.

On Thursday, Acting Alaska Attorney General Ed Sniffen sent a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting to add Alaska to a list of states that have signed a letter in support of Texas’ lawsuit.

Dunleavy had on Thursday said in a statement that “Alaska joined the Texas lawsuit on election integrity.” That came one day after the governor’s administration said Alaska supported Texas’ effort but a “narrow timeline prevented Alaska from joining the suit.”

According to U.S. Supreme Court expert Amy Howe with SCOTUSblog, there is a distinction between joining Texas’ lawsuit and the action the state of Alaska is trying to take.

It is not clear that Alaska can be added to the “friend of the court” brief after it has been filed, and even if it could, it would still be “very different from joining the lawsuit itself, which is what the president is trying to do,” Howe said in an email.

“From a political perspective I’m not sure it matters much: The (acting attorney general) signaled what side he was on with the letter,” Howe said.

The Supreme Court docket had not yet listed an action by the state of Alaska as of Friday morning.

Texas’ lawsuit repeats a series of false, disproven and unsupported allegations about mail-in ballots and voting. Allies of President Donald Trump have filed dozens of lawsuits related to the election. No systemic fraud or consequential error has been established in any state, including Alaska, and courts have repeatedly found that elections were run fairly and securely.

The Texas lawsuit demands that the 62 total Electoral College votes from the four states be invalidated. That’s enough, if set aside, to swing the election to Trump.

[More Republicans sign onto Texas-led lawsuit challenging election results]

Legal experts have dismissed Texas’ filing as the latest and perhaps longest legal shot since Election Day, and officials in the four states targeted sharply criticized Texas’ attorney general.

“It potentially calls into question our own election,” said former Alaska attorney general Jahna Lindemuth, who wrote a scathing letter on Thursday about Texas’ actions.

Lindemuth said it was ironic for Republicans to lead the charge to overturn states’ right to hold their own elections. If Texas’ argument wins the day, California might be able to sue to overturn election results in Alaska, she said.

“To have one state challenge an election in another state is unprecedented and really has no basis in law,” Lindemuth said.

“I have every faith that Biden will be sworn in as our next president, but there’s maybe a large number of people in this country who don’t believe it, and that’s the real danger in this lawsuit,” Lindemuth said. “You’re undermining the integrity of the election and people’s faith in the election.”

Dunleavy’s announcement Thursday came after he recently said there is an “outside chance” Joe Biden will become the next U.S. president during an interview with the conservative political podcast Must Read Alaska, KTOO-FM reported.

He told hosts Suzanne Downing and John Quick that voter fraud accusations must be investigated and courts need to determine if fraud occurred.

”I’m just saying that I’m not there yet,” Dunleavy said. “But in the outside chance — and I’d like to word it that way — that there is a new administration, we will set up a relationship with that new administration and do the best we can to work with them.”

Court cases related to the 2000 presidential election were not resolved until well into December of that year, Dunleavy said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Bush v. Gore on Dec. 12, 2000.

”The people of America need to know that their vote counts,” Dunleavy said. “And if there is any suspicion of fraud, which there is, that really needs to be looked into.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Clarification: In an earlier update on this article, Amy Howe with SCOTUSBlog said it appeared the state of Alaska had joined the amicus brief in support of Texas’ lawsuit; Howe later amended her comments to say it’s not clear the state can join the brief after it had been filed.

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.

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