Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Campaign’s Lawsuit Over New Jersey Mail-In Ballots

Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Campaign’s Lawsuit Over New Jersey Mail-In Ballots
Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy in Oceanport, New Jersey on June 14, 2018. (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for William Hill Race & Sports Bar)
Janita Kan

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign challenging New Jersey’s plan to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in response to the pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp from New Jersey on Thursday said the case was effectively moot because the plaintiffs failed to show what injuries it would suffer, saying that their claim of voter fraud was largely speculative, conjectural, and lacking in imminence.

“The Court, accordingly, finds that Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent injury to their members’ rights to vote,” Shipp wrote.

The plaintiffs, which include Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, sued Murphy and other state officials in August to block a state law that requires mail-in ballots to be sent to all registered voters at least 29 days before the election. They argue that the plan facilitates “fraudulent and invalid votes” and could deprive the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment.

As part of their argument, the plaintiffs raised concerns from media reports that revealed details of a mail-in voter fraud scheme during a local election that ended with 19 percent of ballots rejected. They also pointed to another incident where a U.S. postal worker was arrested for discarding general election ballots sent from a county board of elections.

The judge said the plaintiff’s claims were too speculative while adding that the state has its own methods to prevent fraud such as assigning a unique barcode on each ballot.

“Any suggestion of these measures’ imminent failure is also speculative,” Shipp wrote.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, Samantha Zager, the deputy national press secretary of the Trump campaign, said: “President Trump won in New Jersey when he protected its citizens from Governor Murphy’s illegal power grab, resulting in his liberal legislature having to bail him out. Now Murphy has the unsolicited vote-by-mail system he wants—the same one that brought tons of fraud in the Paterson election, saw 1,666 ballots from the primary magically show up months later, has a Post Office worker dumping ballots into dumpsters, and now shows nearly 7,000 voters receiving the wrong ballots for the general election.”

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has long raised alarm about the risks 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 previously 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.”

Meanwhile, proponents of mail-in voting are arguing that the phenomenon is so rare that it is not an issue.

The Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank that advocates for liberal causes, documented a number of studies and research in 2017 that purports that voter fraud is “vanishingly rare, and does not happen on a scale even close to that necessary to ‘rig’ an election.”
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.