The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), claiming Murphy’s executive order requiring that every voter in the state be sent a mail-in ballot prior to the 2020 presidential election is an illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of the state’s legislative power.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, asked the court to declare Murphy’s “brazen power grab” as being in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause, Electors Clause, and Fourteenth Amendment.
“In a direct usurpation of the legislature’s authority, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 177 purporting to rewrite the election code for the November 2020 election,” the lawsuit stated. “Moreover, in his haste, the Governor created a system that will violate eligible citizens’ right to vote. By ordering universal vote-by-mail, he has created a recipe for disaster. Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The campaign is seeking a to have a federal judge block implementation of the order, claiming “EO 177 is illegal and must be enjoined.”
The campaign claimed that Murphy’s order “invites fraud and undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of elections,” citing several examples to bolster its case. The last Republican presidential candidate to win New Jersey was George H.W. Bush in 1988; Hillary Clinton (D) beat Donald Trump by roughly 14-percent in the Garden State.
“Indeed, the Governor is well aware of this problem. New Jersey has a long history of problems with voting by mail. Countless individuals have been convicted of voter fraud tied to absentee ballots over the last decade,” wrote Trump campaign attorney Thomas R. McCarthy.
Many of the cited examples, however, were problematic and did not support assertions of widespread fraud.
Despite claiming the number of voter fraud convictions being “countless,” the White House recently posted a study from the Heritage Foundation showing that the actual number of cases of voter fraud involving absentee ballots in New Jersey since 2003 is 12. Most of those cases involved local school board or city council elections.
The lawsuit also cites to a 2016 investigation revealing that New Jersey had 2,460 “active” voters on the rolls who had been dead for at least five years, 58 of whom appeared to have cast a ballot posthumously.
“New Jersey has a sordid history of illegitimate elections. For starters, it has had documented problems with keeping accurate voter rolls. In 2016, the Asbury Park Press performed an investigation of New Jersey’s voter rolls and found a full 2,460 active voters who had been dead for at least five years, and nearly sixty of them had apparently cast votes after they died,” the complaint stated. No link to the investigation was provided in the filed complaint.
A review of that study, published by the Asbury Park Press, showed that all of the supposedly fraudulent votes were actually the result of clerical errors and were not criminal in nature. For example, “in one case a father’s name was mixed up with a deceased son on the Ocean County voting rolls and no double votes were ever cast.” In another case where a man appeared to have voted 14 times after his death, it was revealed that he actually shared the same name and home address as his son, whose votes were being incorrectly attributed to his deceased father.
“All this shows how the state voting rolls have many more names than live voters, but voting records show there is no apparent intentional fraud, at least when it comes to the ‘dead’ voting,” the study stated. “In a pool of 4.9 million registered voters, it would take a zombie army to change the outcome of a statewide election.”
After filing a similar lawsuit lawsuit to prevent the expansion of mail-in voting in Pennsylvania, a federal judge last week ordered the Trump campaign to provide tangible evidence of voter fraud in the state’s vote-by-mail election system.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp, an appointee of President Barack Obama, will preside over the case.
Read the full lawsuit below:
[Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images]
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