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The campaign of President Donald Trump filed a federal lawsuit late Tuesday night over a new law expanding access to vote-by-mail, the president’s latest and most serious attack on the right to cast your ballot safely during a pandemic.
The lawsuit was filed against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who opposed the new bill, and seeks to overturn a new law on voting which, among other things, mandates that the state automatically sends ballots to Nevada voters in the mail 20 days ahead of the election, and 40 days ahead of the election for those living out of state. The bill passed the Democratic-led Nevada legislature largely along party lines, and Governor Steve Sisolak signed it into law earlier this week.
In the court filing, however, the Trump campaign alleges that the new law is unconstitutional, and argues that the bill’s provisions will “facilitate fraud and other illegitimate voting practices.”
In addition to going after mail-in voting, the Trump campaign is arguing that a provision requiring a minimum number of early voting polling places based on population disenfranchises rural voters in sparsely populated counties—even though the new law freely allows the counties to create more polling places if they want.
Trump has railed against the Nevada bill, and mail-in voting in general, for months. As far back as May, he threatened to cut federal funding for both Nevada and Michigan for allegedly acting illegally in expanding vote-by-mail—even though Michigan was only sending applications for absentee ballots to registered voters and not automatically sending the ballots themselves.
On Monday, he charged that the new Nevada law was an “illegal late night coup” that would make it “impossible for Republicans to win in the state.” On Wednesday morning, after the lawsuit was filed, he again tweeted about the Nevada law, falsely claiming “It will take months, or years, to figure out” who won the election.
In the same tweet, Trump defended Florida’s mail-in voting system for the second time in two days and encouraged his voters there to send their ballots in. Both Florida and Nevada have historically been viewed as battleground states in presidential elections; Trump lost Nevada in 2016, however, while he won Florida.
Trump has also voted by mail himself, as recently as the Florida primary in March, despite the fact that he was in the area at the time and drove past early voting locations, according to the Washington Post.
Speaking with NPR on Tuesday, Sisolak, a Democrat, defended the expansion of mail-in voting as “another option for people to exercise so we can get as much participation as we can.”
“It's my job to ensure that people don't have to choose between their health and the ability to vote, exercise their right to vote, and that's what we intend to do in November,” Sisolak told NPR.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)