The extent and particulars of the behind-the-scenes coordination — and the refusal by some Trump electors to go along with the plan — have not been previously reported. The campaign scrambled to help electors gain access to Capitol buildings, as is required in some states, and to distribute draft language for the certificates that would later be submitted to Congress, according to the former campaign officials and party leaders.
The campaign also worked to find replacements for the electors who were unable to participate, or unwilling. Among the unwilling were a state GOP chairman, a lawmaker who was one of the first in Congress to endorse Trump and ason of legendary Republican senator Johnny Isakson, The Washington Post found.
When the electoral college votes were cast, Trump’s allies claimed that sending rival slates to Washington echoed a move by Democrats in a close race in Hawaii six decades earlier. They said they were merely locking in electors to ensure they would be available if courts determined that Trump had won any of those states. Republican electors in two additional states, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, sent certificates, but those documents explicitly stated that they were to be considered only if the election results were upended.
In ways that were not publicly known until months later, however, the rival slates were leveraged as evidence in last-ditch efforts to give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to reject Biden’s victory when he presided over the electoral vote count in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021….
The Post attempted to interview the 15 Trump electors in those key states who were replaced ahead of the electoral vote. Several of them said they were recovering from covid-19 at the time or had other obligations. All the names are listed in documents the watchdog group American Oversight obtained through a public records request to the National Archives and Records Administration.
Among the electors who declined to participate was Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas, an election-law expert who had defended Trump in 2016 against a recount push by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.