President Donald Trump’s campaign has filed a lawsuit against the state of Nevada in an effort to stop the state’s recently passed measure that would send ballots to all registered voters for the November election.
As first reported in the Nevada Independent, the lawsuit claims “electoral process cannot function properly if it lacks integrity and results in chaos. Put simply, the American people must be able to trust that the result is the product of a free and fair election.
“Nevada’s recently enacted election laws — collectively, AB4 — fall far short of this standard,” the lawsuit states.
Nevada lawmakers on Sunday passed AB4 on a party-line vote, adding the state to a growing list of U.S. states mailing active voters ballots ahead of the November election.
The bill was signed into law Monday by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak. Nevada joins seven states that plan on automatically sending voters mail ballots, including California and Vermont, which moved earlier this summer to adopt automatic mail ballot policies.
Trump called the bill’s passage “an illegal late night coup” in a tweet Monday morning. He accused Sisolak of exploiting COVID-19 to ensure votes in Nevada would favor Democrats.
Trump on Monday claimed that he has the authority to issue an executive order on mail-in ballots.
“I have the right to do it,” Trump told reporters at a White House press conference on Monday. “We haven’t gotten there yet, we’ll see what happens.”
Nearly all election procedures are governed on a state-by-state basis, with the remainder set by Congress or enshrined in the Constitution. There is no precedent or apparent authority for Trump to try to curtail the use of mail-in ballots by executive order.
Trump’s claimed authority comes days after he publicly floated a delay to the Nov. 3 presidential election, a notion was met with swift bipartisan blowback.
The Nevada State Democratic Party slammed the suit in a statement issued Thursday.
“This lawsuit is a sham meant to intimidate the states from pursuing voting access expansions,” wrote party Chairman William McCurdy II. “AB4 expands mail-in and in-person voting options, granting Nevadans greater choice this November. As states fill the void of Trump’s leadership and begin to step up to the challenge of protecting both voters’ health and their constitutional right to vote, Trump and Republicans are throwing a fit.
“That is because Trump does not want to hear from the people, he knows what they will say.”
Nevada bill allows mail-in, in-person voting
In Nevada’s June primary, the state mailed all active voters absentee ballots and only opened a limited number of polling places to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske told lawmakers Friday that she wasn’t aware of any fraud in the process.
Limited polling places in Reno and Las Vegas resulted in lines of up to eight hours.
The bill signed on Sunday requires at least 140 polling places throughout the state, including 100 in Clark County, which had 179 in the November 2018 election.
In states such as Colorado and Oregon, which have mailed all voters ballots for years, the procedure is cheaper than holding an in-person election. But Cegavske said the equipment, education, printing and postage would cost the Secretary of State’s office an additional $3 million, not including costs to counties, which distribute and tabulate ballots.