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Nevada GOP to appeal judge’s refusal to nullify Biden win

December 5, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo, supporters of President Donald Trump protest the Nevada vote in front of the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas. A state judge rejected on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, a bid by the Donald Trump campaign to overturn the results of the Nevada election and stop the state's six Democratic presidential electors from voting for Joe Biden. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
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FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo, supporters of President Donald Trump protest the Nevada vote in front of the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas. A state judge rejected on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, a bid by the Donald Trump campaign to overturn the results of the Nevada election and stop the state's six Democratic presidential electors from voting for Joe Biden. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Nevada state Republican Party promised Friday to appeal a judge’s refusal to overturn the results of the statewide presidential election and stop the state’s six Democratic presidential electors from voting for President-elect Joe Biden.

A statement from GOP spokeswoman Jessica Hanson came after Judge James Todd Russell in Carson City said he saw no clear or convincing proof “under any standard of evidence” that he should declare President Donald Trump the winner in Nevada or throw out results of the statewide vote.

“Contestants did not prove ... that illegal votes were cast and counted that should have been rejected during the signature verification process, or legal votes were not counted that should have been accepted” in numbers that would have swayed the outcome, the judge said.

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“We disagree with the dismissal,” the Republican statement said.

Jesse Binnall, the attorney heading the contest-of-election filing on behalf of six would-be Republican electors for Trump, did not immediately respond to messages.

An appeal is expected to get fast-track handling at the state high court, and a ruling could come before the Electoral College finalizes nationwide results in 10 days.

Last week, the seven justices, who are elected in nonpartisan elections, certified the Nov. 3 vote as official. Of 1.4 million votes cast in Nevada, Biden won by 33,596 votes, or nearly 2.4%.

In the Las Vegas area, a Democratic stronghold and the most racially diverse part of an otherwise predominantly Republican state, Biden won by 9.35%.

Claiming the election was stolen, Binnall told the judge on Thursday that so many tainted votes were cast, primarily in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, that Trump won the state — not Biden.

Kevin Hamilton, a national Democratic Party elections litigator representing Nevada’s six Biden electors, responded that there was no evidence any illegal votes were cast, or by whom.

Hamilton compared the Nevada case to futile efforts by the Trump campaign in other presidential battleground states and urged Russell to reject an “unprecedented and breathtaking” request to nullify the Nevada presidential vote.

Of about 50 cases brought by Trump’s campaign and his allies nationwide, more than 30 have been rejected or dropped according to an Associated Press tally.

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U.S. Attorney General William Barr told AP on Tuesday that the Justice Department had not uncovered widespread voter fraud that could have changed the outcome of the election.

However, Binnall alleged sweeping fraud and irregularities in Nevada, and asserted that votes were changed “literally in the dead of night,” pointing to Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria’s report to the Clark County commission on Nov. 16 that 936 “discrepancies” had been found among the 977,185 ballots cast countywide in the presidential race.

Gloria said examples included inadvertently canceled votes, reactivated voter cards and check-in errors at polling places. He said a recount would not change that total.

Trump took to Twitter that day to say the results amounted to “large scale voter discrepancy” in Clark County.

State Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II on Friday characterized the Nevada contest-of-election bid as a failure and a distraction during the coronavirus pandemic.

“These continued attacks ... are dangerous and, if continued, will result in long term damage to our democracy,” he said.

State Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, issued a statement saying that Nevada takes credible allegations of voter fraud seriously. He noted his office is prosecuting a case from the 2016 election.

But Trump campaign leaders in Nevada, including former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, never filed a complaint or evidence with his office about their allegations, Ford said.

“Absent such a complaint and supporting evidence, these claims of widespread voter fraud remain baseless,” he said. “Our elections were fair and secure. This has been demonstrated time and time again and across numerous courts.”