President Donald Trump on Monday erroneously accused Nevada’s governor of unlawfully seizing power after the legislature passed a bill over the weekend that will send all active voters in the state mail-in ballots. He promised to challenge the state measure in court. The president also – for at least the second time in recent months – openly admitted that increasing access to voting ahead of the 2020 election will virtually ensure Republicans are defeated at the polls.
“In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!” the president tweeted.
University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck immediately responded to Trump, saying the new law was definitely not illegal. He noted that the process was “literally the opposite of a ‘coup.’”
The bill, which Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) is expected to sign today, would add Nevada to a growing list of states such as California and Vermont that are proactively sending mail-in ballots to voters due to the pandemic. Before the virus hitting the U.S., only five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington—conducted elections with a universal vote-by-mail system.
Nevada has been particularly hard hit by the effects of the pandemic, which caused the state to close many of its polling locations for June’s primary election resulting in voters waiting up to eight hours to cast their ballot.
Trump’s fixation on the Nevada bill—he tweeted or retweeted about the measure numerous times over the weekend–aligns with the Republican Party’s increasing attacks on (and warnings) about expansions to mail-in voting.
The president made similar comments during an interview with Fox News in May. He was discussing negotiations with Democrats over the pandemic-related economic stimulus bill.
“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things–levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said of easily defeated Democratic Party requests to fund a vote-by-mail system. “They had things in there about, you know, election days, and what you do, and all sorts of claw-backs,” the 45th president continued. “They had things that were just totally crazy.”
While higher voting turnout is generally perceived to help Democrats, there is actually very little evidence to support that premise. A study conducted by Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research in April showed that since the aforementioned five states adopted universal mail-in election systems, both parties have seen small but equal increases in voter turnout.
[image via Fox News screengrab]
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