Trump Campaign Sues Nevada Over Mail-in Ballot Law

August 5, 2020 Updated: August 5, 2020

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Nevada over a law that expands mail-in voting, saying it contributes to voter fraud.

Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) confirmed in a tweet Wednesday that the Trump campaign, the RNC, and the Nevada Republican Party have filed a suit “to stop implementation of Democrats’ radical election abuses” in Nevada.

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

The lawsuit, obtained by The Nevada Independent, was filed against Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and follows calls by President Donald Trump for Republicans to take legal action before Nevada’s Democratic-controlled Legislature rushed through sweeping changes that allow vote-by-mail in the November general election.

“Major or hasty changes confuse voters, undermine confidence in the electoral process, and create incentive to remain away from the polls,” the lawsuit states. The suit also claims that the new bill “upends Nevada’s election laws and requires massive changes in election procedures and processes, makes voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable.”

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed the bill into law on Monday, citing the benefit of protecting voters amid the CCP virus pandemic.

“Today, I signed AB 4, which ensures protections for Nevadans to vote safely at the November election during the pandemic,” Sisolak wrote in a tweet. “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.”

The legislation 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 in 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.

Epoch Times Photo
An elderly couple reads a ballot prior to voting in Durham, N.C., on Nov. 8, 2016. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

Republican Adam Paul Laxalt, former Nevada attorney general and co-chairman of the Trump campaign in the state, criticized the legislative process around the passage of the bill.

“Gov. Sisolak and the NV Dems called a special session with no public present and inside 24 hours are ramming through mail-in balloting and ballot harvesting,” he wrote on Twitter on Aug. 1. “They are massively altering our election 97 days out entirely without the SecState. They are working to steal our election.”

Trump reposted Laxalt’s tweet on Aug. 2, adding, “This is outrageous. Must be met with immediate litigation!”

The suit also 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 Election Day.

Nevada lawmakers were split on their support for bill along partisan lines.

“No person should ever have to choose between their health and safety and their participation in democracy,” said Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, a Democrat, as reported by the Nevada Independent. “I am proud to support and vote for AB4, as it will go a long way to ensure that citizens of Nevada can participate in a safe manner.”

Republicans said there’s no reason to rush the legislation and that it’s inappropriate to make significant changes to election law during a special sitting of the legislature.

“I cannot even begin to try and predict what effect this will have on our state, and on our election process,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Hardy, a Republican. “This bill swings the pendulum to an extreme without having time to research its unintended consequences.”

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.”

Matthew Vadum contributed to this report.

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