LAS VEGAS – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that challenges a new state law sending ballots to all active voters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit lacks standing, according to U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan in a Sept. 18 order dismissing the lawsuit.
Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in August signed the law passed by the Democratically controlled Legislature that made the state among several that plan to automatically mail ballots to active voters this November. Trump’s campaign filed the lawsuit within days of Sisolak’s signing.
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. Though Cegavske – a Republican – opposed the new law and said her department did not have the budget for the changes, she serves as the state’s top elections official and was named in the lawsuit and defended the new law in court.
Trump’s campaign and national and state Republicans filed the lawsuit in Nevada to try to stop the new law, contending it would undermine the election’s integrity and lead to the unequal treatment of rural voters.
Cegavske’s attorneys asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit and contended that the lawsuit addresses a policy debate that should occur outside of a courtroom.
The filing also said the Trump campaign and Republicans who filed the suit don’t have legal standing to make their argument and don’t explain how they’d be harmed by changes in the law.
Trump’s lawsuit alleged the law’s “three-day, post-election receipt deadline for non- postmarked ballots—coupled with its deeming rule, the faster average mailing time in urban districts such as Clark County, and the postal service’s practice of not postmarking prepaid mail” — would result in more untimely ballots being counted from urban areas.
“These injuries are too speculative to establish standing,” Mahan wrote. “Plaintiffs offer a patchwork theory of harm that does not rely on [the law], but on the speed of the United States Postal Service, an entity out of defendant’s control.”
Contributing: Associated Press.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.