The 2020 Fake Electors Scheme:

How What Started in Wisconsin Spread Nationally

In 2020, far right extremists concocted an elaborate plan to overturn the will of the people and take away our freedom to elect those who govern in our name. These election deniers violated the law. The following is a timeline of events showing how the fake electors scheme was born in Wisconsin and spread like a cancer to other states. Wisconsin was ground zero.

In America, the people decide elections. We at Law Forward have worked tirelessly to bring transparency and accountability to both the architects of and foot soldiers for the fake electors scheme.

Some of the masterminds behind this plot – and those who carried it out – remain in positions of power today.

We must continue to defeat election deniers and the threats they pose. This timeline is presented as a call to action for every American to see how close our democracy came to toppling and how the freedom to vote must continue to be protected, not taken for granted.

November 3, 2020

Election Day
Joe Biden wins Wisconsin on November 4. Three days later, networks call the election for Biden.

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NOVEMBER 8, 2020

Ken Chesebro, a Wisconsin attorney and primary architect of the scheme, offers legal services via email to Trump campaign suggesting a broad challenge to Biden’s victory.

NOVEMBER 18, 2020

Ken Chesebro emails Jim Troupis (a Wisconsin attorney and former judge, also a primary architect of the scheme) and other Wisconsin attorneys (Joe Olson, Nick Boerke, Kurt Goehre, and George Burnett) “a final, polished Memorandum” about Jan. 6 being the deadline to resolve electoral vote contests. Seven days later, Troupis forwards this memo to Justin Clarke at the Trump campaign, cc’ing Chesebro.

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DECEMBER 7, 2020

Chesebro emails Troupis a new memo dated Dec. 6, on the importance of the fake electors voting on December 14. Later the same day, Chesebro resends the memo, urging it to be forwarded to national people, and Troupis and Chesebro text.

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DECEMBER 8, 2020

Chesebro sends a long email to Troupis at 12:15am with more details on the plot, arguing that the Senate should ignore the Electoral Count Act to extend debate on the electoral votes so the dispute can drag past Jan. 6.

Later that same day, Chesebro emails Troupis about the importance of Vice President Pence’s participation – saying Pence should slow the debate/count – and expresses appreciation to Troupis conveying the outline of the scheme to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

DECEMBER 9, 2020

Chesebro continues to text Troupis, and on that same day, Troupis emails Boris Epshteyn, Olson, and Burnett regarding expanding fake elector scheme nationally. Epshteyn and Rudy Giuliani ask the Wisconsin team if they can draft fake certificates for Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico; Olson says Chaz Nichols and RPW Executive Director Mark Jefferson already drafted one.

Chesebro also emails a memo to Troupis, cc’ing Austin Browning, Olson, and Burnett about logistics for fake electors on Dec. 14 (memo includes: “In conclusion, it appears that voting by an alternate slate of electors is unproblematic in Arizona and Wisconsin; slightly problematic in Michigan (requiring access to the senate chamber); somewhat dicey in Georgia and Pennsylvania in the event that one or more electors don’t attend (require gubernatorial ratification of alternates); and very problematic in Nevada (given the role accorded to the Secretary of State).

DECEMBER 10, 2020

Chesebro provides template fake electoral ballots, and instructions for December 14, to individuals in Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Nevada (later doing the same for New Mexico). He eventually loops in the Trump campaign’s director of Election Day Operations, Mike Roman. 

DECEMBER 13, 2020

Troupis and Chesebro continue to text to plan the fake electors meeting, referencing Andrew Hitt (a lawyer and Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin), Mark Jefferson (former Executive Director of the Wisconsin GOP), and Reince Priebus, who had previously served as Chair of the Republican National Committee and then, briefly in 2017, Chief of Staff for Trump.

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DECEMBER 14, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court rules against Donald Trump, ending his legal challenges in Wisconsin.

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When Ephsteyn asks Troupis about appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, Troupis expresses skepticism:

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Email chains show that Chesebro, Troupis, and other Trump campaign officials knew about this decision before the fake electors met and signed fake elector ballots. The fake electors also knew about the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, as confirmed by fake elector Bill Feehan later recorded in a podcast released in January 2021.

Right before the fake electors meet, Chesebro texts…

The real electors met at 12pm CST to vote in the electoral college, as they were authorized to do. The fake electors, at the same time, gathered in secret to submit fake votes that were subsequently used to try and overturn the election. The fake electors had to be snuck into the building, did not use the reserved room because they were concerned they would be seen, and deliberately avoided other officials and press.

One of the fake electors is Robert (Bob) Spindell, Jr., a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The other fake electors are Andrew Hitt, Bill Feehan, Kelly Ruh, Carol Brunner, Edward Scott Grabins, Kathy Kiernan, Darryl Carlson, Pam Travis, and Mary Buestrin

Chesebro texts Troupis, referring to the fake Trump electors as “real” electors.

DECEMBER 15, 2020

Chesebro texts Troupis about Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn, who joined the majority in upholding Biden’s victory in Wisconsin:

DECEMBER 16, 2020

Troupis and Chesebro secretly meet with President Donald Trump at White House.

DECEMBER 19, 2020

Chesebro texts Troupis…

DECEMBER 21, 2020

5:01pm: Trump campaign attorney Bruce Marks emails Troupis, indicating “[t]he Campaign wants us to work together with professor eastman to file an Article II cert petition from Wisconsin to scotus.” Within 2 hours, Troupis forwards his chain with Marks to George Burnett, then Joe Olson, cc’ing Burnett. Troupis explains: “I have called Reince and Justin to see what’s really going on. Reince heard the President may want to talk.”

9:32pm: Troupis (in an email with the subject line Cert Pet) emails Chesebro, Joe Olson and George Burnett and remarks “Spoke to PA person. Spoke to the President. Spoke to Reince. Frankly this feels like a kluster fuck. Looks like Giuliani is insisting on this and I said… we would discuss in the morning.”

DECEMBER 29, 2020

Troupis, Chesebro, and Burnett file petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging election result in Wisconsin.

DECEMBER 30, 2020

Chesebro texts Troupis…


JANUARY 5, 2021

Chesebro is back in Washington, D.C.. He personally delivers Pennsylvania’s fake electoral votes to a GOP Representative from that state, and takes possession of the fake votes from Wisconsin. The next day, Troupis texts Ron Johnson, Sean Reilly (Ron Johnson’s Chief of Staff), and Chesebro about trying to transmit Wisconsin’s fake electoral votes to Pence:

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Troupis texts Chesebro…

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JANUARY 6, 2021

Egged on by then-President Donald Trump, a violent mob storms the US Capitol in an effort to stop the counting of the real electoral votes that elected Joe Biden President. The availability of “alternate electoral votes” was a cornerstone of the argument that Mike Pence should not count the real votes, and that Trump should remain in power.

Via text, Troupis and Chesebro celebrate their “accomplishment” in attempting to overturn the will of the people.

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JANUARY 7, 2021

Blaming Mike Pence for not handing the election to Trump, Chesebro texts Troupis…


FEBRUARY 15, 2021

Law Forward asks Milwaukee County District Attorney (DA) Chisholm to investigate the fake electors; DA Chisholm later answers that Wisconsin Attorney General Kaul’s Department of Justice or federal prosecutors were best suited to investigate the matter. Subsequent letters to AG Kaul’s office went unanswered. 

We also filed a complaint requesting an investigation with the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation about one of the fake electors, Andrew Hitt.

FEBRUARY 22, 2021

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JANUARY 25, 2022

CNN reports federal prosecutors are reviewing the fake electoral college certifications.

JANUARY 26, 2022

Law Forward writes to the Wisconsin Department of Justice stating we will have no choice but to file suit if no action is taken.


MAY 17, 2022

Law Forward files first-ever fake electors civil suit with co-counsel Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP).

MAY 2022

DECEMBER 23, 2022

The January 6 Select Congressional Committee releases their report. The fake electors scheme was one of five major threads they investigated which were connected to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.


DECEMBER 3, 2023

Wisconsin’s 10 fake electors settle the civil suit, publicly acknowledging their role in attempt to overturn the 2020 election and disrupt the peaceful transition of power. As part of the settlement, a trove of documents was released from the fake elector defendants. 

MARCH 4, 2024

Jim Troupis and Ken Chesebro settle Penebaker v. Hitt and provide a trove of documents showing their role in the fake electors scheme. They promise never to participate in another fake elector scheme.

JUNE 4, 2024

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul charges Chesebro, Troupis, and Roman with forgery, a felony.

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Content on this timeline has been excerpted for space and time constraints. Text messages, emails, and other communications were condensed for purposes of clarity and readability. Full, unedited documents can be viewed at these links: Penebaker documents, Fake Electors Meeting Video, Photos of Fake Electors, Chesebro-Troupis texts, Chesebro emails, Chesebro Proffer, and Troupis emails.