Trump's Crack Legal Team Sues To Make Nevada Voting Contagious Again
One day America will have a president who doesn't tweet bullshit that sends his minions scurrying off to file pointless lawsuits. But that day is not today. After Nevada's failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt got Trump spun up about a new law that will send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter, the president went on a tear about Democrats trying to steal the state from him.
Never mind that both senators, both houses of the state legislature, the governor, and all but one member of the congressional delegation hail from the Democratic Party. Trump lost Nevada in 2016, but he's sure that duly enacted legislation to allow voters to cast their ballots safely during a pandemic is actually "an illegal late night coup" to steal the state's whopping six electoral votes.
In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Pos… https://t.co/5R3OTc5hZq— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1596454645.0
And so the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and Nevada's Republican Party have obediently filed this bullshit lawsuit to get AB4 overturned by claiming that mailing ballots to all registered voters somehow postpones the election and violates the Equal Protection Clause. It's 25 pages of hyperventilating about the hypothetical danger of voter fraud seasoned with a liberal dose of good, old-fashioned chutzpah.
Just weeks after Trump warned about increased ballot access leading to "levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again," his campaign has the nerve to cast the GOP as the guardians of voter access. In a year when the RNC set aside $20 million for litigation to make it harder for Americans to vote during a pandemic, they wrote, "Robust participation in our biennial elections strengthens the Nation's civic fibers, allowing the United States of America to retain its place as the world's preeminent constitutional republic. Thus, Republicans have always supported efforts to make it easier for voters to cast their ballot."
Oh, yes, they did!
Because of coronavirus, Nevada's Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, the only Republican who managed to hang on statewide, sent ballots to every registered voter during the primary. The result was not chaos, as the brief suggests with scare stories about ballots piling up in apartment mail rooms. The votes were efficiently tabulated and reported within 10 days, and the only issues reported were long lines at the few polling places that remained open. Oh, and the roughly 6,700 ballots rejected because the signatures didn't match — a fact conveniently omitted by the RNC in its dire warnings of rampant fraud. There were exactly zero reports of electoral fraud in the June primary, which is why this brief devotes most of its constitutional arguments to three minor provisions of the bill.
The first is a clause allowing a ballot to be counted if it's received within three days of the election and the date on the postmark is unclear. According to the RNC, this "effectively postpones and prolongs Nevada's 2020 general election past the Election Day established by Congress." So now they admit that Congress actually controls the date of the election and it can't be postponed! But nice of them to signal that they plan another Brooks Brothers riot if things look close.
Remember when Milwaukee had exactly five polling places open for 592,000 residents in the Wisconsin primary in April, and the GOP said that was just peachy keen? Republicans have closed more than 1,000 polling places across the country in places as diverse as Texas, Georgia, and Kansas, where the only polling station for a majority Latino district was literally moved outside the city limits. Making it harder to vote by guaranteeing long lines in minority districts is kind of the GOP's signature move.
And yet these assholes have the nerve to come before the court and argue that fewer polling stations per head in rural areas violates the Equal Protection Clause. Because the law says there must be a minimum of 100 polling places open for counties with populations above 700,000, and only one for counties with populations less than 100,000, so obviously the Real Americans™ who live in rural areas are being deliberately disenfranchised by having mail-in ballots sent to them and mandatory polling stations open in every county. Also, the brief consistently refers to the number of polling stations "authorized," which conveniently elides the fact that the law sets a floor, not a ceiling, and thus there may be many more places to vote than the law mandates. Very subtle!
The third contested provision involves ballots received in circumstances which suggest the type of "ballot harvesting" the GOP is frantically trying to make A THING.
It reads, "If two or more mail ballots are found folded together to present the appearance of a single ballot, they must be laid aside. If a majority of the inspectors are of the opinion that the mail ballots folded together were voted by one person, the mail ballots must be rejected and placed in an envelope, upon which must be written the reason for their rejection."
From this provision specifically designed to prevent the very harm Republicans pretend to care about, the RNC infers nefarious intent to deprive Nevadans of the right to vote. But because the statute doesn't have 15 clauses laying out criteria for rejecting supposedly fraudulent votes, it is clearly an attempt to dilute the power of supposedly valid votes — ipso facto propter hoc it violates the Equal Protection Clause.
This shit is just exhausting! But if you weren't already exhausted, here's Trump's batshit campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis to knock you out.
"Democrats know President Trump is gaining ground in Nevada, so they fully and fundamentally overhauled Nevada's election laws in a rushed 72-hour attempt to rig the election," she said in a statement released yesterday, citing exactly zero polls. Here on Planet Earth, Trump's regional field director for Nevada, Joshua Skaggs, told the RNC months ago that the GOP was in deep trouble in the state and that registration numbers were "being falsely inflated" to feed Trump the happytalk he requires. But, sure, tell us more about the Democrats trying to steal this election — which they were always going to win! — by making it safe for voters to cast their ballots during a pandemic.
And Donald Trump is ... still talking, if you can even believe it.
Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-In Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts. It wil… https://t.co/WkSC3J1bx5— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1596625719.0
In summary and in conclusion, voting by mail in Florida, which has a Republican governor, is totally fine, despite the fact that the 2018 tabulation was a hot mess. But Nevada, which did perfectly well with a mail-in primary, will be a "corrupt disaster." THE END.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.