Trump, GOP drop Nevada court appeal of ballot count case

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Wade Vandervort

A county election worker loads a ballot counting machine at the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Published Wed, Nov 11, 2020 (12:41 p.m.)

Updated Wed, Nov 11, 2020 (3:49 p.m.)

A state court legal fight to stop the counting of mail ballots in the Las Vegas area has ended after the Nevada Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the Donald Trump campaign and the state Republican party, at their request.

The dismissal leaves two active legal cases in Nevada relating to the 2020 presidential election, as a small number of remaining ballots are counted.

The campaign and GOP had tried to withdraw the appeal in the state case, submitting a document last week telling the seven-member court that it had reached a settlement calling for Clark County election officials to allow more observers at a ballot processing facility.

However, not all the parties in the lawsuit signed the agreement. The case also involved the national and state Democratic parties, the Nevada secretary of state and the Clark County registrar of voters.

Trump Nevada campaign official Adam Laxalt did not immediately respond Wednesday to messages about the action by the state high court.

The appeal had challenged Judge James Wilson Jr.'s ruling Nov. 2 in Carson City that neither the state nor Clark County had done anything to give one vote preference over another.

Meanwhile, an active lawsuit filed in federal court alleging ineligible votes were cast in the Las Vegas area has a Nov. 19 deadline for filings but no immediate hearing date.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon declined after a hearing Friday to issue an order immediately halting the count of mail-in ballots from Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County — a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise GOP state.

The judge noted what was then the pending Nevada Supreme Court appeal and said he didn't want to become involved in “an issue of significant state concern, involving state laws (that) should be interpreted by state courts.”

Plaintiffs in that case include a woman who said she tried to vote in person but was told a mailed ballot with her signature had already been received, and a political strategist and TV commentator who said he was denied an opportunity to observe ballot counting late on election night.

Separately, a public records lawsuit in state court led a judge to set a Nov. 20 deadline for the Clark County registrar of voters to turn over to the Trump campaign and the state GOP the names, party affiliations, work schedules and job responsibilities of more than 300 people who were hired to count ballots.

Vote counting in Nevada ends Thursday. State elections officials report more than 1.3 million ballots were cast.

On a call with reporters hosted by the Voter Protection Program, Democratic attorneys general Aaron Ford of Nevada and Dana Nessel of Michigan said lawsuits questioning the results of elections in their states are baseless.

Ford branded people spreading claims of fraud “saboteurs” working to undermine faith in the democratic process.

“There’s been no evidence of widespread fraud or wrongdoing and no P.R. stunt or piled-on litigation is going to change that fact,” Ford said.

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