(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the national Republican Party have sued Nevada to block a new law that will send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter ahead of November’s election.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said the plan by the state’s Democratic governor was a “catastrophe waiting to happen” and the U.S. Postal Service had been given insufficient notice to handle the “millions of votes” involved.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims the Democratic-sponsored legislation will result in “inevitable” voter fraud. Trump, a Republican, faces Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 contest.
Nevada is among eight states that plan to mail every voter a ballot. Election officials in most states have encouraged at-home voting as the highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus has made voting in person a concern.
Trump told reporters there was a distinction between the security measures involved in absentee voting versus mail-in voting, though election experts have said there is essentially no distinction.
While citing delays in counting votes in New York state, Trump made clear his concerns were also partisan in nature.
“Nevada is a big state, an important state. It’s a very political state, and the governor happens to be a Democrat,” he said.
Earlier, the president, who has voted by mail in Florida, told Fox News that state’s system is more trustworthy because it has had “two good governors.” Florida’s current governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, is a staunch Trump ally; Nevada’s governor, Democrat Steve Sisolak, is a Trump critic.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that voting by mail, which is expected to increase dramatically this fall due to the pandemic, is susceptible to large-scale fraud. Experts say voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States.
The lawsuit said Nevada’s new law is unconstitutional because it effectively extends the date of the election by mandating that ballots received up to three days afterward should be counted, even if they lack a postmark.
The complaint cited recent New York congressional primary elections, which are still being tabulated weeks after the election, as evidence of the “chaos” the law will create.
In a statement on Monday after signing the bill, Sisolak said it would protect Nevadans and “safeguard their right to make their voices heard.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, told reporters at the White House that 78% of his state’s citizens now voted by mail, but that the state had perfected its security measures since introducing mail voting in 1992.
“This is no time to experiment. This is a time to go with the tried and true,” he told reporters at the White House.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)