Judge Dismisses Trump Campaign’s Lawsuit Over Nevada Mail-In Ballot Law

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
September 22, 2020Updated: September 22, 2020

A federal judge in Las Vegas on Sept. 18 rejected a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign against the State of Nevada over a law that expands mail-in voting, saying the campaign failed to show how it could be harmed by the law.

Judge James Mahan dismissed the lawsuit that was filed against Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske by the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee (RNC), and the Nevada Republican Party last month. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said at the time that the suit sought to “stop implementation of Democrats’ radical election abuses” in the state.

McDaniel said the law, known as A.B.4, “will destroy the confidence every voter deserves to have in our elections!”

The legislation, signed into law by Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak last month, lets election officials send all active registered voters a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 3 election and extends the possibility of vote-by-mail to future elections that may be impacted by things like natural disasters. The law also will ease some restrictions for who is permitted to handle and submit ballots, which Republicans contend can facilitate voter fraud.

The suit claims the law violates the Constitution by effectively extending the deadline for Election Day by way of provisions that let ballots be accepted up to three days after Nov. 3.

The lawsuit followed calls by Trump for Republicans to take legal action before Nevada’s Democratic-controlled legislature rushed through sweeping changes that allow universal vote-by-mail in the November general election.

Judge Mahan said Friday that the Trump campaign and Republicans failed to show any constitutional harms in their allegations, dismissing the case on a legal procedural ground.

In his ruling, he referred to the underlying arguments several times as too “speculative” and “generalized.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Cegavske’s office for comment.

“I said from the beginning that President Trump and the Republican Party didn’t have a leg to stand on, and I’m pleased that the court agrees. Their allegations of fraud are speculative at best,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in response to Friday’s ruling.

Keith Schipper, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign in Nevada, said they are “disappointed” by Mahan’s ruling upholding the state’s legislature and its “reckless overhaul of its electoral system.” He said the campaign is assessing its options.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has long raised the alarm about the dangers of mail-in ballot fraud.

“Absentee ballots are the tools of choice of election fraudsters because they are voted outside the supervision of election officials, making it easier to steal, forge, or alter them, as well as to intimidate voters,” wrote Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, in an op-ed.

The Heritage Foundation’s own database of all reported instances of election fraud, dating back to 1979, lists only 1,277 “proven instances of voter fraud,” though the organization’s Communications Manager told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that “the database is only intended to represent a small sampling of the types of voter fraud that can occur—it is by no means a comprehensive report of all the voter fraud that happens around the country.”

According to a recent report (pdf) from conservative nonprofit Public Interest Legal Foundation, Nevada’s Clark County mailed out 1.3 million ballots for June’s primary, but 223,000 were never delivered due to address issues.

Tom Ozimek and The Associated Press contributed to this report.