Nevada Judge Thwarts Last-Minute GOP Voter Suppression Plot


A Nevada judge has thrown out a Republican challenge to early vote-counting procedures in Clark County, Nevada, which is where the majority of the state’s voters live. Republicans had criticized the county’s usage of a signature matching device and their treatment of poll watchers, claiming that authorities had not given poll watchers appropriate access to supervise the ballot-counting process. Republicans wanted to be allowed to install cameras in ballot-counting areas, and they also wanted the judge in the case — District Court Judge James Wilson — to stop the county’s usage of a signature matching machine called the Agillis.

Without the signature scanning device to help speed up the process, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria “testified that he feared that… there would no way his department could count the 1 million-plus ballots in time,” CNN says. Republicans have already separately established their opposition to counting major numbers of ballots after Election Day, so if Nevada ended up close in the final election results with ballots left out of the tally, Republicans could move in and try and stop those ballots from getting included. President Donald Trump himself has already explicitly insisted that his team would move in and try and stop post-Election Day ballot-counting in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania.

The consistent Republican claims of some kind of rampant election fraud are baseless. Late changes to vote tallies do not automatically suggest some kind of fraud — in fact, states already generally do not officially certify their election results until well after Election Day. In the Nevada case, Judge Wilson ruled that the Republican challengers “failed to prove they have standing to bring their… claims,” and so, he denied their requests for action. Mary-Anne Miller, who was representing Clark County authorities in the case, previously insisted that Republicans “have not identified any error of any fraud that’s taking place on behalf of any voter,” and Wilson apparently agreed.

The lack of evidence for Republican claims of fraud hearkens back to another recent case in Pennsylvania. Republicans had sued to try and get the state to stop using drop-boxes for absentee ballots, claiming that the boxes opened the door to fraud — but they failed to provide evidence to support their claims. After the judge in the case — J. Nicholas Ranjan, a Trump appointee — requested evidence from the Trump campaign of any fraud that had taken place in previous races in which the boxes had been used, the Trump campaign didn’t only fail to provide any evidence, they also insisted that they shouldn’t have had to provide evidence for their claims in the first place.

In the Nevada case, the Republican plaintiffs had initially sought a temporary restraining order from Judge Wilson that would have stopped early vote-counting in Clark County until the case played out. Wilson denied that request. As of early Monday, following Wilson’s more conclusive ruling against Republicans, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald indicated that his side had not yet decided whether to appeal the case to the Nevada Supreme Court. It’s one of a slew of election-related court cases lately winding through the court system.

In Texas, local Republicans have challenged the legitimacy of almost 127,000 ballots that were submitted at drive-thru polling places in Harris County, which has many Democrats. Over the weekend, the Texas Supreme Court rejected this challenge, but a federal case brought by the same plaintiffs against the same ballots was ongoing at the time.