No quick decision on Vegas-area mail ballot appeal in Nevada
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Republicans and President Donald Trump’s campaign gained no quick decision Tuesday in a Nevada Supreme Court appeal aimed at stopping the count of mail-in ballots in the Las Vegas area — a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise red GOP state.
Justices did not stop Election Night counting, calling instead for written filings to be completed next Monday on an issue that could affect reporting the vote in Clark County and Nevada, a presidential battleground with six electoral votes at stake.
A hearing date was not immediately set.
The Trump campaign and GOP say they want campaign-enlisted count-watchers to be allowed wider range to see operations at the busy Clark County elections office in suburban Las Vegas.
“We are fighting for transparent and open elections,” Trump Nevada campaign co-chairman Adam Laxalt said.
The state Democratic Party accuses Republicans and the Trump camp of “continued attempts to undermine the election process” in Nevada’s most diverse area.
“We expect this desperate appeal to be swiftly denied,” Democratic party spokeswoman Molly Forgey said.
Observers of all parties are being accommodated in Las Vegas-area ballot-counting offices. But Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria testified during a court hearing last week that privacy requirements prevent over-the-shoulder monitoring of signature validation.
The case now before the state Supreme Court also seeks to stop the use of an optical scanning machine to validate voter signatures.
Gloria testified that pulling the plug on the device could endanger his ability to count all ballots before results have to be reported Nov. 16.
The appeal followed an order released Monday by Judge James Wilson Jr. in Carson City, who observed that no county in Nevada hand-counts ballots.
The Trump campaign and GOP lawsuit targeted the only Democratic-leaning county in the state. Wilson said he concluded that neither the state nor Clark County had done anything to give one person’s vote preference over another.
More than 1.27 million ballots went out in Clark County, which has almost 71% of all voters statewide. More than 413,000 mailed ballots were received as of Tuesday, according to state election data. More than 98% of those votes have been accepted as valid.
Clark County, including Las Vegas, is more than 31% Hispanic, 13% Black and about 10% Asian American, according to the U.S. Census. Democrats make up 40.6% of registered active voters in the county, and Republicans account for 28.6%.
Nevada has 1.8 million active registered voters. State election officials reported that by mid-afternoon Tuesday, more than 1.2 million ballots had been cast statewide. Nearly half of all votes, 49%, were received by mail.
Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020.