Touting unfounded claims of election fraud, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is suing four states — including Michigan — and asking the Supreme Court to block them from casting their electoral votes. 

Since Nov. 3, Donald Trump's campaign has filed similar lawsuits, many in Michigan, claiming election fraud and seeking to turn over President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The majority of these lawsuits have been withdrawn or thrown out due to a lack of reliable evidence. 

Many of the lawsuits challenge votes in majority-Black communities, such as Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Paxton’s suit, which also names Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, claims the pandemic-era changes to procedure violate federal election law and asks the Court not to allow the four states to vote in the Electoral College. 

Paxton also asks that the Dec. 14 deadline to cast electoral votes be pushed back, claiming the delegation of election proceedings and rule changes to local offices is unconstitutional. 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) filed a response with the Supreme Court on Dec. 10, calling Paxton's lawsuit unprecedented and "meritless." 

"The base of Texas's claims rests on an assertion that Michigan has violated its own election laws. Not true," Nessel's filing states. "That claim has been repeatedly rejected in the federal and state courts in Michigan, and just yesterday the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch effort to request an audit." 

Nessel also said she is confident the Supreme Court will reject the lawsuit and reinforce Michigan's election results. 

In a Tuesday morning press release, when Paxton's lawsuit was first announced, Nessel wrote that the suit diminishes public trust in the election system and is a partisan tactic rather than a legitimate lawsuit. 

"The motion filed by the Texas Attorney General is a publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading,” Nessel wrote. “The erosion of confidence in our democratic system isn’t attributable to the good people of Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia or Pennsylvania but rather to partisan officials, like Mr. Paxton, who place loyalty to a person over loyalty to their country.”

Last week, Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani testified in the Michigan House Oversight Committee, bringing forth witnesses who claimed they witnessed election tampering as votes were tabulated in Michigan. Throughout the meeting, Giuliani pushed numerous conspiracy theories about the safety of Michigan’s election.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr (R), who works directly under Trump, said on Dec. 1 the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread election fraud, countering the president's claims. 

This article has been updated to include a response to the Texas lawsuit from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Daily News Editor Emma Ruberg can be reached at eruberg@umich.edu

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