After MSNBC’s Ari Melber aired video this week of right-wing political operative Roger Stone pushing for Republican legislatures to replace electors — similar in purpose to the fake electors scheme central to former President Donald Trump’s criminal indictments over his 2020 election theft attempt — Media Matters found multiple instances of Stone urging this version of election theft in right-wing media appearances and a social media post after the election.
As Melber emphasized in his August 16 scoop, Stone was shown dictating a memo on November 5, 2020, involving a plot to convince Republican-led state legislatures in multiple states Joe Biden won to replace legitimate electors with slates of false electors for Trump two days before major news organizations called the election for Biden. For his version of the fake electors scheme, Trump was charged on August 1 with conspiracy to defraud the United States, along with other criminal charges, and the fake electors plot was featured in his Georgia indictment as well.
Although Trump’s unindicted co-conspirators in that plot have been identified through the efforts of journalists, Stone’s name was not among them, and he had escaped attention over the indictments until now. In the 2020 election’s aftermath, Stone continued to push his scheme to replace Biden electors with illegitimate Trump electors in order to overturn the election in multiple appearances on far-right media programs and posts to his Telegram account. In echoes of the discredited and unconstitutional Independent State Legislature theory, Stone claimed that the nonexistent evidence of fraud, which failed to win any court victories for the Trump team, could be used to persuade GOP-majority state legislatures to swap their electors from Biden to Trump. Stone's scheme would have pursued a different means to the same end to steal the election for Trump through the Electoral College.
- Stone explained on Infowars’ The Alex Jones Show that he was “shooting for” Republican state lawmakers to overturn election results and sending Trump electors instead. “I don’t think patriots understand that the last chain in this process is the legislatures certifying who the electors who will go to the Electoral College are,” Stone said. “They are who we’re shooting for. … The state legislatures who are controlled by Republicans will make this final decision.” [Infowars, The Alex Jones Show, 11/10/20]
- On Salem Media’s The Eric Metaxas Show, Stone said Trump should be able “to overturn a number of these state elections” and switch electors from Biden to himself. Stone explained: “There is a process here. We’re not done when ABC and The Associated Press say we are. The media does not choose who the president is, they have no legal right to declare anybody president. Only the Electoral College can do that, and we have a long way to go between now and the Electoral College meeting in the middle of December. The president has more than enough legal arguments to overturn a number of these state elections and award the delegates, pardon me, the electors, correctly, as required by law to the person who won the majority of the legal ballots cast.” [Salem Media Group, The Eric Metaxas Show, 11/13/20]
- In a Telegram post, Stone wrote, “Republicans in the state legislatures have an obligation to review the massive evidence of voter fraud” before assigning electors. Stone argued that “neither the state nor federal courts have the final say in this epic saga” and that Republican legislators must determine “whether the election has been legally and honestly conducted, before deciding who should represent the state in the all-important electoral college.” [Telegram, 11/16/20]
- On Alex Jones’ Infowars program again, Stone urged Trump supporters to contact GOP state legislators about stealing Biden electoral votes for Trump. During his appearance a month after the election, Stone advised Trump to focus on state legislatures instead of just the courts in his efforts to steal the election, and said: “I think supporters of the president in the key states need to begin now contacting the Republican state legislators … and urge them to support the president, to support an objective and honest count of the election and the certification of electors that will support Donald Trump at the Electoral College.” [Infowars, The Alex Jones Show, 12/2/20]