The Trump campaign on Tuesday sued Nevada over a decision to send mail-in ballots to all of the state’s registered voters, delivering on President Donald Trump’s promise earlier this week that he would fight the move, which he sees as unfavorable to him.
The lawsuit reinforces a months-long effort by the President to cast doubt on the results of the election if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is declared the winner.
The complaint states that “the American people must be able to trust that the result is the product of a free and fair election” and makes the claim that Nevada’s newly enacted election legislation “fall short of this standard.”
The complaint challenges a bill that Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed into law Monday afternoon, following a party-line vote to approve the bill on Sunday. The new legislation allows election officials to send absentee ballots to every “active registered voter” in the state. It also extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots beyond Election Day, so that mailed ballots received by election officials the week after November 3 may still be counted.
The suit follows a tweet from Trump on Monday whining that the measure would make it “impossible for Republicans to win the state.” The tweet represented a moment of unmistakable clarity about why the President has waged war on mail-in ballots: that they may hurt him politically in swing states like Nevada, and that he will make a case for contesting an election result that does not declare him the winner.
Trump had also previously rejected mail-in voting in Florida — another swing state– but strategically pivoted on that front Tuesday, tweeting that Florida’s mail-in voting system had been “cleaned up” following revelations that Democrats were leading in mail-in ballot enrollment for that state. On Wednesday, Trump again tweeted, “Florida, send in your Ballots!”
The Trump campaign lawsuit makes the argument that Nevada’s legislation “effectively postpones and prolongs Nevada’s 2020 general election past the Election Day established by Congress” a move that Trump’s campaign states will “dilute the votes of some Nevada voters, thereby infringing their right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
There’s a special irony to this line of argument given that the President last week floated the idea of postponing the election.
The complaint further argues that Nevada’s new election legislation goes against federal law by requiring elections officials to accept and count ballots received after Election Day, baselessly claiming that those ballots “lack objective evidence that voters cast them on before Election Day.”
The lawsuit, filed by the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party, also said that “The RNC has a vital interest in protecting the ability of Republican voters to cast, and Republican candidates to receive, effective votes in Nevada elections and elsewhere.”
But Sisolak said in a tweet Monday that the new set of laws was about protecting the state’s residents and ensuring their ability to “vote safely.”
“They’re trying to create a scenario here that doesn’t exist,” Sisolak told CNN’s Anderson Cooper with regard to the Trump campaign’s attack on mail-in voting in an interview Tuesday night, adding that Trump and his team were trying to “raise people’s suspicions.” He added, “We have never had any problems.”