Sept. 22 (UPI) — A federal judge in Nevada has rejected a complaint filed by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign seeking to overturn the state’s plan to expand mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, stating it failed to prove mailed ballots would lead to voter fraud.
“Today is a win for Democracy,” the Nevada State Democratic Party said in a statement Monday. “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.”
Keith Schipper, a Trump campaign spokesman, said in a statement they were disappointed with the outcome to uphold “the Nevada legislature’s last-minute and reckless overhaul of its electoral system and are assessing our options.”
The ruling comes in a lawsuit Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party filed a day after Nevada passed Assembly Bill 4 on Aug. 3 that directs city and county election officials to mail paper ballots to all active registered voters in the state and to count any ballot received by 5 p.m. on the third day after the election is held.
The Trump campaign argued in its complaint that expanding mail-in voting would “facilitate fraud and other illegitimate voting practices” as well as “dilute the value of honest, lawful votes” in violation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Specifically, the campaign said that due to the speed of the USPS a ballot cast a day after the election could be received by the 5 p.m. deadline.
In his ruling released Monday but dated Friday, Judge James Mahan wrote that the Trump campaign’s arguments and proof of harm to voters were generalized and speculative.
“These injuries are too speculative to establish standing,” Mahan wrote in his 12-page ruling. “Plaintiffs offer a patchwork theory of harm that does not rely on AB 4 but on the speed of the United States Postal Service, an entity out of the defendant’s control.”
Mahan also said the campaign failed to prove that its disagreement with the new law was anything other than a disagreement over policy.
“The Trump campaign does not represent Nevada voters. The Trump campaign represents only Donald J. Trump and his ‘electoral and political goals’ of re-election,” Mahan wrote. “Although the Trump campaign may achieve its ‘organization’s purpose’ through Nevada voters, the individual constitutional interests of those voters are wholly distinct.”
Steve Sisolak, the Democratic governor of Nevada, tweeted Monday that he was “pleased” with the decision, stating AB4 was passed “to expand options for Nevadans and provide for safe, fair & accessible elections during the pandemic.”
Aaron D. Ford, Nevada’s attorney general, said he had thought the Trump campaign’s accusations of fraud as “speculative at best.”
“I said from the beginning that President Trump and the Republican Party did not have a leg to stand on, and I am pleased the court agrees,” he said on Twitter.