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Trump Sues Nevada Over Mail-in Ballot Law, Escalating Fight Against Universal Vote-By-Mail



PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP filed a lawsuit challenging Nevada’s new election law that will send ballots by mail to all registered voters for the November election, the latest move by the president to undermine states that are expanding vote-by-mail operations due to the coronavirus.

The president, in conjunction with the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Nevada late Tuesday against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican. The election reform bill, which passed the Democratic-led state legislature and was signed into law on Monday, seeks to shorten wait times for in-person voting by sending absentee ballots to every registered voter in the upcoming election as well as any others held during a statewide disaster or emergency.

Trump, who’s repeatedly attacked vote-by-mail in the lead-up to an election that’s expected to have an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots, argues in the lawsuit that Nevada’s move threatens the integrity of elections and that overhauling the state’s system will place a huge financial burden on the RNC “to divert resources and spend significant amounts of money educating Nevada voters on those changes and encouraging them to still vote.”

“Many of those provisions will undermine the November election’s integrity. Some go beyond that, crossing the line that separates bad policy judgments from enactments that violate federal law or the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit reads. “Major or hasty changes confuse voters, undermine confidence in the electoral process, and create incentive to remain away from the polls.”

The president has also claimed, without evidence, that vote-by-mail operations are rife with voter fraud. In the lawsuit, Trump and the RNC escalated that rhetoric by arguing that the changes to Nevada election law “makes voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable.”

Nevada, a battleground state that has shifted more toward Democrats in recent cycles, joins a number of other states that also have universal vote-by-mail. Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington implemented such systems years ago, while California and Washington, D.C., recently shifted gears to send all voters ballots in light of the pandemic.

“This bill will help prevent Nevadans from experiencing the long lines at polling locations they faced during the Primary election, which will protect their safety, safeguard their right to make their voices heard, and help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said after signing the bill into law.

But Trump, who has voted absentee while serving in the White House, has made some exceptions when it comes to mail-in ballots. He supports absentee voting since most voters need to request a ballot rather than automatically receive one. Plus, about one-third of states require an excuse to request an absentee ballot. And on Tuesday, Trump urged voters in Florida, a key battleground state that’s likely to make-or-break his reelection, to vote by mail.

“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Trump tweeted. “Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA.”

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