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Trump Campaign Lawsuit Accuses Nevada County of Unlawfully Counting Early Ballots

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Nevada Republican Party filed a lawsuit on Friday claiming that Clark County’s procedure for the counting of early voting ballots was in violation of state election law. The groups asked the court to halt any additional counting of ballots until it can be guaranteed that election officials are observing “proper procedures” going forward.

The complaint,  which was filed in Carson City District Court, names Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, and Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria as the defendants.

In addition to the Trump Campaign the Nevada’s GOP, Fred Kraus, a volunteer poll watcher who lives in Clark County, is listed as a plaintiff.

The plaintiffs requested a temporary injunction that would prevent Clark County from counting votes until election officials implement a “meaningful” plan for polling and ballot counting procedures to be observed, in accordance with state law.

“Transparency is paramount to ensure Nevadans the right to a free and fair election,” Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald said in a statement to the Nevada Independent. “Clark County’s refusal to allow people to observe the handling of ballots and their low standards for matching signatures should disturb all voters. It is troubling that those trusted to run our elections are going to have to be compelled by the court to follow state law and protect this election.”

Attorneys for the Trump campaign and the GOP earlier this week sent Cegavske a letter alleging that Clark County was in violation of N.R.S.293B.354 by failing to submit a plan for accommodation of members of the public to “observe delivery, counting, handling and processing of ballots.” The letter demanded that Cegavske “immediately step in and inform Clark County that a number of its current observation protocols (which were never submitted to your office for approval) are unacceptable and that Clark County must accommodate meaningful observation to assure transparency in the election process.”

Clark County Elections Department spokesman Dan Kulin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the letter, which also forms the basis of the claims in the lawsuit, was rife with “misleading or inaccurate claims,” adding that the election department had gone “above and beyond to provide access to observers,” even creating additional observation areas beyond what is required under state law.

Kulin also said that the area where the campaign and the GOP claim they’re being barred from entering is not a polling location or a site where ballots are counted, but a call center where officials contact voters who need to fix their ballot. The public is not permitted in those areas as personal information is often discussed on the calls.

[image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.