Trump campaign asks court to block early vote counting in Nevada

The Trump campaign and the Nevada GOP sued the Nevada secretary of state and Clark County registrar on Friday, seeking to stop the count of early mail-in ballots in the Las Vegas area, the latest Republican effort to curtail vote counting heading toward Election Day.

The lawsuit, filed less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 elections, says observers cannot get close enough to workers and machines as they tally votes in Nevada’s largest and most Democratic county, which includes the city of Las Vegas.

Republicans are arguing that observers cannot confirm that votes get second- and third-step validation, warning that the situation runs the risk of permitting fraudulent votes from being tabulated. They also complain that an offer to pay for cameras throughout the counting facility in question — to enable observers to watch the tallying while following social distancing guidelines — was denied.

The lawsuit’s central argument hinges on the allegation that Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria did not receive proper approval from Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) in April for his proposal to accommodate observers.

“Gloria must accommodate meaningful observation to ensure transparency and integrity in the election process. Because he has refused to timely provide a plan to the Secretary for her approval, the Petitioners have sought for this honorable Court to order the Secretary to issue an approved plan for Clark County that assures immediate, meaningful observation,” the plaintiffs wrote.

“In the alternative, Petitioners request that the Court prohibit Clark County from processing and counting ballots until proper procedures are in place to ensure transparency and integrity in all parts of the process,” they added.

Judge James Wilson in Carson City later decided to not issue an immediate order to stop the count but did schedule a hearing on the issue set to take place next Wednesday.

The suit is just the latest to be brought by President Trump and his allies in states across the nation to try to curtail vote-counting in the lead-up to the election.

Various lawsuits have pushed for the scrapping of ballot drop-off boxes, limiting of the time frame in which votes can be cast and counted, increasing scrutiny over supposed signature mismatches and more. The suits have been cast in the name of fraud prevention, though studies show voter fraud is incredibly rare.

Nevada is one of a small handful of states where the Trump campaign has gone on offense, looking to notch a win for the president in a state he lost in 2016 by just 2 points, though observers have cast doubt on whether the Silver State is in play this cycle.

Nearly 160,000 more Democrats than Republicans are registered in Clark County, which boasts more than 70 percent of the state’s total active voters.

“President Trump has long fought for a free, fair, transparent election. Today he takes that fight to Nevada’s election officials, who would apparently prefer to avoid accountability and hide ballot processing and counting behind closed doors rather than do so transparently, as the law requires,” said Matthew Morgan, the Trump campaign’s general counsel.

“Transparency is paramount to ensure Nevadans the right to a free and fair election. Clark County’s refusal to allow people to observe the handling of ballots and their low standards for matching signatures should disturb all voters,” added Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald.

The Nevada Democratic Party dismissed the lawsuit as an effort by Republicans to suppress the vote, casting it as a “desperate play.”

“This lawsuit from Trump and Republicans is nothing more than an obvious attempt to impede record-breaking momentum in Clark County, the most diverse county in the state,” said Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy. “The demands articulated in the GOP’s lawsuit amount to voter suppression, plain and simple.”

Tags Donald Trump Early voting mail-in ballots mail-in voting Nevada

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