Trump campaign sues Nevada over expanded mail-in voting
The Trump campaign late Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Nevada over a law aimed at expanding mail-in voting before the November general election, saying it and changes to election procedures make “voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable.”
The lawsuit, obtained by The Nevada Independent, was filed against Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske amid Trump’s latest attempts to discredit mail-in voting in states with Democratic governors.
“The RNC has a vital interest in protecting the ability of Republican voters to cast, and Republican candidates to receive, effective votes in Nevada elections and elsewhere,” the suit says, referring to the Republican National Committee, which joined in the legal action along with the Nevada Republican Party. “Major or hasty changes confuse voters, undermine confidence in the electoral process, and create incentive to remain away from the polls.”
The bill was passed along party lines and Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed it into law on Monday. Known as A.B. 4, the legislation allows election officials to send all active registered voters a mail-in ballot for the November elections due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It will also extend to other elections that may occur after a statewide emergency or disaster.
Today, I signed AB 4, which ensures protections for Nevadans to vote safely at the November election during the pandemic.
During this global pandemic, I made a commitment that we’d do all we can to allow Nevadans to safely cast a ballot in the upcoming November election. pic.twitter.com/jv224jObnP
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) August 3, 2020
The lawsuit calls the provisions “head-scratching” since the state held primary elections in June and the bill will change election laws so close to November.
It also alleges that the bill is unconstitutional because it allows ballots with unclear postmark dates to be accepted up to three days after Nov. 3, which “effectively extends the congressionally established Election Day.”
The Trump campaign is asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction blocking the bill.
“The electoral process cannot function properly if it lacks integrity and results in chaos,” the complaint says. “Put simply, the American people must be able to trust that the result is the product of a free and fair election.”
The president appeared to respond to the lawsuit early Wednesday morning, saying Nevada has “ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting.”
“It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts,” he wrote in an early morning tweet. “It will take months, or years, to figure out. Florida has built a great infrastructure, over years, with two great Republican Governors. Florida, send in your Ballots!”
Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts. It will take months, or years, to figure out. Florida has built a great infrastructure, over years, with two great Republican Governors. Florida, send in your Ballots!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2020
The Hill has reached out to the offices of Cegavske and Sisolak for comment.
The president has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting ahead of the presidential election, suggesting that increased mail-in voting could lead to voter fraud, despite a lack of evidence that mailed-in ballots lead to criminal activity.
Last week, he even suggested delaying the election — something the president does not have the power to do — amid concerns about the pandemic, which has infected more than 4.7 million people and killed more than 156,000 in the United States.
Nevada is one of the few states won by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 that the Trump campaign thinks could be competitive in 2020.
The president on Monday vowed to challenge the bill, accusing Sisolak of using the pandemic to “steal” the election and make it “impossible” for Republicans to win in Nevada.
“In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”
Trump, however, on Tuesday encouraged voters in Florida to vote by mail, saying the state’s election system is “safe and secure.”
“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Trump tweeted. “Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA.”
Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2020
When asked about Trump’s apparent change of view, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters the president has often made a distinction between absentee voting and “mass mail-out voting,” the latter of which she said would lead to fraud.
“He’s been unmistakably clear that when you have this mass mail-out voting like what Nevada wants to do, the consequences are real,” McEnany said.
Updated at 7:43 a.m.
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