Trump campaign sues to try to stop Nevadans from voting by mail

Dennis Romero
People protest against the passage of a mail-in voting bill during a Nevada Republican party demonstration at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on August 4, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

The re-election campaign of President Donald Trump on Tuesday night followed through on his threats to sue Nevada over its plan to conduct the November election almost entirely by mail-in ballot.

The suit, which claims such statewide voting by mail is unconstitutional, comes one day after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill that would facilitate mail-in voting for most of the state, with a limited number of in-person polls.

Trump has been railing against mail-in voting since spring, arguing that it invites voter fraud. There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States, according to numerous investigations and studies.

In May the president threatened on Twitter to "hold up funds to the State" over voting by mail.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada, argues that the law signed by Sisolak, would essentially mean that voters no longer must weigh in before Election Day and that vote counting delayed as a result of possible U.S. Postal Service sluggishness would prolong elections beyond a reasonable time frame.

The Nevada law "contravenes those valid federal laws by requiring elections officials to accept and count ballots received after Election Day even when those ballots lack objective evidence that voters cast them on or before Election Day," the lawsuit states. "In short, AB4 effectively postpones and prolongs Nevada's 2020 general election past the Election Day established by Congress."

The governor's office did not immediately respond to request for comment Tuesday night.

The bill, which vows that every Nevadan will get a ballot by mail, came in the wake of Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske's decision in March to hold the state's June primary by mail in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The suit was filed on behalf of the Trump campaign as well as the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party. It decries the Nevada law because, it says, the legislation was passed by "a straight-party-line vote taken on a Sunday afternoon."

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The suit argues that because some counties in Nevada preside over elections, residents' votes could be treated differently depending on where they live.

The claim also outlined the president's own concerns with mail-in voting that, despite his own use of absentee ballots, they invite fraud. It cites examples of ballots found in the trash and stuffed haphazardly in mailboxes. Voter fraud in Nevada, the suit claims, is "inevitable."

But there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, by mail or otherwise.

In March, Trump said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" that Democratic Party efforts to make voting easier and more widespread would doom the Republicans. "They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again," the president said.

The filing seeks a judgment that Nevada's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional under federal election law and under the Fourteenth Amendment's vow of equal protection for citizens.