Trump’s suit against Nevada tossed as ‘speculative’

trump in black and white
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

A federal judge Friday dismissed the Trump campaign lawsuit against Nevada legislation requiring ballots to be sent to all active voters. The campaign was joined in the suit by the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party. 

In his ruling, Judge James Mahan said the plaintiffs’ claims that voting by mail would lead to voter fraud were “speculative.”

“…as plaintiffs concede,” Mahan wrote, “they hold ‘policy disagreements’ with proponents,” of Nevada’s law.  “Although they purport to allege constitutional harms that go beyond these policy disagreements, at this juncture, plaintiffs’ allegations remain just that.”

Nevada Democrats heralded the judge’s ruling. 

“Today is a win for democracy,” the party said in a statement. “Donald Trump and Republicans have been hell bent on limiting voting options for one clear reason: Republicans will lose if more Nevadans vote in this election. Democrats prioritized Nevadans’ voting rights by passing Assembly Bill 4, legislation that ensures voters have options to make their voice heard even in the midst of a global pandemic.”

“I said from the beginning that President Trump and the Republican Party didn’t have a leg to stand on,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted his pleasure at the judge’s ruling, adding Nevada’s vote-by-mail law was “passed to expand options for Nevadans and provide for safe, fair & accessible elections during the pandemic.”

Among the issues Mahan addressed in the ruling was the Trump campaign’s contention that the postal service wouldn’t be able to handle the volume of mail-in ballots — a contention that has been dismissed by postal service officials.

By casting doubt on the post office, Mahan wrote, the Trump campaign and other GOP plaintiffs “offer a patchwork theory of harm that does not rely on AB 4, but on the speed of the United States Postal Service” — a factor that is beyond the control of the state.

Nevada Republicans, including Trump Campaign Nevada co-chair Adam Laxalt, have made the specter of voter fraud a centerpiece of their 2020 campaign messaging and fundraising.

Neither the Nevada GOP, Laxalt, nor his political action committee appeared to have made a statement on the ruling by early Monday afternoon.

Also by Monday afternoon, Trump, who has frequently tweeted and/or complained about what he has called Nevada’s  “illegal vote by mail ballots” had not tweeted about the judge’s ruling.

The Nevada case “is one of several that the Trump campaign has filed challenging expansions of mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mahan noted in a footnote, listing as examples Montana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.