Court losses keep piling up for President Donald Trump and his allies. In a new pair of orders, federal Judge James Russell has blocked a Republican attempt at discovery in a challenge to Nevada election procedures and results. The discovery period would have provided plaintiffs, including prospective Trump-supporting members of the electoral college, the opportunity to seek evidence to support their claims of fraud. In one instance, concerning plaintiffs’ apparent attempt to compel the production of thumbdrives by Clark County authorities, Judge Russell concluded that “there is no right for the release of proprietary information.” In the other order, Russell said that plaintiffs “have not carried their burden in establishing that the discovery they seek is likely to result in the creation of reliable, admissible evidence.” In other words, the judge blocked a potential fishing expedition led by Trump allies.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) December 2, 2020
In an underlying complaint, plaintiffs claim that Nevada election officials “did nothing to ensure that mail-in ballots were properly, distributed, verified, or counted,” which is simply false in any context. The plaintiffs challenge the usage of a particular signature scanning device during the mail-in ballot tabulation process in Nevada, but many of the signatures were, in fact, checked by hand. As for the signatures that the machine did handle, there’s no apparent evidence establishing that the machine is somehow untrustworthy.
A fact-sheet from the Nevada Department of State says that mail-in ballot processing equipment in use in the state “must meet or exceed the federal voting system standards and be independently tested to determine the equipment functions correctly.” This same fact-sheet states that “all voting equipment used for an election is subject to rigorous testing and auditing, both before and after each election,” which undercuts a claim in the underlying complaint in the Trump-allied Nevada case at hand. The plaintiffs claim that “[it] appears that there have been insufficient or non-existent post-election audits of signature verification voting machines that have been used in elections,” which the Nevada Secretary of State’s office indicates is simply incorrect.
Even Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump loyalist, recently poured cold water on the president’s own claims that fraud plagued the election across the country. Barr told the Associated Press that no evidence had emerged indicating any fraud that changed the outcome of the election.