Seventeen US states have swung behind a Supreme Court case launched by Texas to have Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's declared election victory overturned.
The states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia, all of which voted for President Donald Trump in the 3 November presidential election. President Donald Trump also supports the legal action.
Along with Texas they represent most of the southern and midwestern US.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the suit with the Supreme Court late on Monday night, petitioning justices to force the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to allow their state legislatures to disregard the contested results in those states and appoint electors of their own choosing to the Electoral College that decides the next president.
Paxton argues that the decisions of those states' executive governments to change election rules to allow mass mail-in balloting - ostensibly in response to the coronavirus pandemic - violated the constitution and should not have been allowed without the approval of state legislators.
The Supreme Court has given the four target states until Thursday to respond to the suit. State legislatures have until 14 December to appoint electors from slates nominated by the contesting parties.
The state legislatures of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are controlled by Republican majorities in both houses.