Nevada Judge Foils Trump’s Voter Sabotage Attempt


A judge in Carson City, Nevada has denied a request from the Nevada Republican Party and Trump re-election campaign to temporarily halt the counting of mail-in ballots in Clark County, Nevada. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, is the highest-populated county in the state of Nevada, and Republicans have alleged that the county’s mail-in ballot standards are not appropriately strict enough. Thus, the Republicans wanted mail-in ballot counting in the county to be put on hold while a lawsuit that they’ve brought moves forward, but their request has proven unsuccessful.

The Nevada GOP and Trump campaign’s lawsuit targeted Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria and Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. On Friday, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford revealed on Twitter that his office had “defeated President Trump’s and Nevada GOP’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the counting of the ballots.” Could the Republicans’ efforts to suppress the vote be any more obvious at this point? They quite literally wanted to get a court to force a highly populous county to stop counting mail-in ballots for the time being! The foundation that the GOP used for their case is, by all appearances, just about totally hollow. In their lawsuit, they misrepresent basic facts of the reality of ballot counting procedures that are already in place in Clark County.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal explains, Trump campaign official Adam Laxalt claimed that “the county uses a machine that matches signature verification at only 40 percent, lower than the 50 percent recommended setting by its manufacturer” — but he’s flatly incorrect on both counts. Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin indicated in response to the Republican lawsuit that the setting numbers 40 and 50 don’t even refer to a percentage at all, and there’s not even a recommended setting from the signature matching-dedicated scanner machine’s manufacturer. Rather, as the Review-Journal summarizes, Kulin explained that the setting numbers 40 and 50 refer to “a scored setting based on factors such as writing style, the slant of the letters and the way someone crosses their T’s.” One might expect that the re-election campaign for the president of the United States would double-check these basic facts before filing a federal lawsuit.

In defense of his position, Laxalt — the official from the Trump campaign — offered little more than vague conjecture. Referring to the county’s so far low ballot rejection rate, he insisted that “it strains credibility that only 2,000 of the first 200,000” mail-in ballots in Clark County were worthy of rejection — but vague conjecture is not an appropriate basis on which to found major decisions about election procedures. There should be solid evidence, and here, there isn’t much of anything.

The Republican lawsuit also complains that election authorities did not let the GOP place cameras in rooms where ballots are handled — but the “county believes that the request for cameras in observation areas is likely not legal under state law,” the Review-Journal reports.

This case — which has a hearing scheduled for this upcoming week — is not the first time that Republican interests including the Trump campaign have challenged the voting process across the country. They’ve repeatedly proven unsuccessful.