Trump campaign sues New Jersey over mail-in voting

The Trump campaign on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) issued an executive order requiring every voter in the state receive a mail-in ballot, in addition to being allowed to vote in-person if desired, as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit, obtained by Reuters, was filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey to invalidate “Executive Order 177.”

The campaign claims that Murphy appropriated power that belongs to the New Jersey state legislature when he overhauled the state’s election law, alleging he violated both the Elections Clause and the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also accuses Murphy of violating the 14th Amendment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Justin Clark, Trump’s deputy campaign manager, wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that New Jersey residents "who want to vote in person face a real threat that their ballots won’t be counted.”

Clark links to a 2016 investigation by the New Jersey outlet Ashbury Park Press that found 2,460 voters on the rolls who had been dead for at least five years, nearly 60 of whom had apparently cast votes after they died.

That same investigation, however, found that those votes were likely counted due to clerical errors rather than fraud, and no election outcomes were changed because of it.

“All this shows how the state voting rolls have many more names than live voters, but voting records show there is no apparent intentional fraud, at least when it comes to the ‘dead’ voting,” the study states. “In a pool of 4.9 million registered voters, it would take a zombie army to change the outcome of a statewide election.”

Murphy announced last week that the Garden State will vote primarily by mail-in ballots in November, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All 6.3 million of the state’s registered voters will receive a mail-in ballot to vote with on Nov. 3. A number of polling stations will still be open for residents who want to cast their ballots in person.

ADVERTISEMENT

The governor said on Sunday that his administration would extend the deadline for mail-in votes to be counted provided they are postmarked by Election Day.

The Hill has reached out to Murphy's office for comment. 

The Trump campaign has filed a similar lawsuit against Nevada. However, unlike Murphy’s executive order, lawmakers in Nevada passed a bill along party lines aimed at expanding mail-in voting before the November general election that was signed into law by Gov. Steve SisolakSteve SisolakTrump confirms another White House staffer tested positive for COVID-19 Trump says he's not worried about contracting coronavirus at rallies At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin MORE (D).

Trump has for weeks made exaggerated and inaccurate claims about mail-in voting, saying that the election will be "rigged" and "fraudulent” if Americans vote through the mail. Experts have insisted that there is no meaningful evidence suggesting mail-in voting contributes to voter fraud.

Despite his attacks on the practice, the president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump: Ginsburg's 'spirit will live on in all she has inspired' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - You might want to download TikTok now Warning label added to Trump tweet over potential mail-in voting disinformation MORE have both requested mail-in ballots for the Florida congressional primary.