On Tuesday, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Republican National Committee, and the Nevada Republican Party sued Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, challenging Assembly Bill 4 (AB4), which was signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak on Monday after a brief debate on Sunday regarding the 60-page, single-spaced bill. The bill represents yet another instance of Democrats taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to permanently alter the way elections are run throughout the country.
I am pleased to announce that the RNC, @TeamTrump and @NVGOP have sued to stop implementation of Democrats’ radical election abuses in NV.— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 5, 2020
#AB4 will destroy the confidence every voter deserves to have in our elections! https://t.co/pk6TqOD327
The complaint reads:
Every American who is eligible to vote should be able to freely do so. 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. At the same time, however, the electoral process cannot function properly if it lacks integrity and results in chaos. Put simply, the American people must be able to trust that the result is the product of a free and fair election.
Nevada’s recently enacted election laws—collectively, AB4—fall far short of this standard. On a straight-party-line vote taken on a Sunday afternoon, the Nevada Legislature passed a 60-page, single-spaced bill first introduced shortly after noon the previous Friday. AB4 adds more than 25 new election-related sections to the Nevada Revised Statutes and amends more than 60 others. 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.
One of the most alarming changes made by AB4 includes allowing ballots with no postmark to be counted as long as they are received by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday after Election Day.
As the complaint mentions this would allow voters in certain counties to vote AFTER election day:
As a result, a ballot mailed in Clark[Las Vegas] or Washoe Counties in a state-provided, postage prepaid first-class envelope on the Wednesday or Thursday after Election Day will likely be received at the Clark County Registrar’s Office or Washoe County Clerk’s Office before 5:00 pm on the Friday after the election without bearing a postmark. Under Section 20.2, those ballots must be counted. Section 20.2 thus effectively extends the Congressionally established Election Day.
The problems with AB4 are not limited to mail voting. Another alarming provision includes favoring Democrat-leaning urban counties by mandating more polling locations than is afforded for Republican-leaning rural counties.
Tying the number of polling places per county to population, which results in more in-person polling places in urban counties, thus violating the Equal Protection Clause and disadvantaging rural voters;
As the complaint notes:
For example, data from the Secretary of State shows that there are 319,212 registered voters in Washoe County. AB4 authorizes a minimum of 15 polling places in Washoe
10 County, or at least 1 polling place for every 21,281 registered voters in Washoe County. Several rural counties—where AB4 authorizes only 1 polling place each—have
substantially higher numbers of registered voters per polling place. For example, Lyon County (1 polling place per 40,816 registered voters) and Douglas County (1 polling place per 41,649
14 registered voters) have approximately twice as many registered voters per polling place as Washoe County.
The problems don't end there. AB4 leaves it up to counties to decide certain standards, thus standing in opposition to Supreme Court precedent:
[T]he Equal Protection Clause imposes a “minimum requirement for nonarbitrary treatment of voters” and forbids voting systems and practices that distribute election resources in “standardless” fashion, without “specific rules designed to ensure uniform treatment.”
- Creates "unequal, standardless" treatment of voters across counties by allowing individual county or city clerks to establish their own procedures for processing and counting ballots; and
- Creates a loophole giving election inspectors the discretion to assess whether ballots were voted by one person resulting in the dilution of votes of "honest citizens."
In Real Clear Politics, Co-Chair of the Trump Campaign for Nevada and former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt wrote:
Bills that genuinely promote the common good typically don’t get rushed to passage under the cover of night on strict party-line votes. Yet that’s what Nevada Democrats have done with an “election reform” measure they just pushed through an emergency special session of the state legislature.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and his legislative allies claim the 100-page bill, the crux of which is an unprecedented expansion of mail-in voting and an allowance for “ballot harvesting,” is a necessary safety precaution in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic. In reality, it’s a blatantly partisan attempt to radically overhaul Nevada’s elections in a way that blows the door wide open to widespread voter fraud.
Read my oped here: Nevada Democrats' Midnight Run on Election Integrity | RealClearPolitics https://t.co/QVd3RHbCOc— Adam Paul Laxalt (@AdamLaxalt) August 5, 2020
The Nevada Legislature and Governor's shady attempt to drastically change the state's election laws come at a time when voters are looking to their elected officials to ensure the security and integrity of the electoral process. If the law is allowed to stay in place, an unknown number of Nevadans may be disenfranchised, and the election results will be severely delayed.