President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has filed a lawsuit contesting the results of the state’s presidential election while claiming without direct evidence that the identified irregularities will be enough to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
At a press conference Tuesday outside the state Republican Party headquarters in Las Vegas, representatives from the Trump campaign — including former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, campaign attorney Jesse Binnall and American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp — said they had identified multiple examples of irregularities and voter fraud in the state’s 2020 general election that they allege in totality prove Trump won the election.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Carson City District Court Tuesday afternoon, is the latest legal challenge filed by the Trump campaign and Republican groups over Nevada and Clark County’s general election processes and procedures. Final vote tallies released over the weekend and certified by counties on Monday gave former Vice President Joe Biden a 33,596 vote, or 2.39 percentage point, lead over Trump in the state.
But representatives from the Trump campaign say they’ve uncovered enough evidence of questionable votes to call into doubt those results and “bridge the gap” between Trump and Biden in the state.
“We're quite confident in the fact that when the law and the facts are clearly adjudicated in this matter, that it will be very clear that once all the voting happened, once everything occurred, the results were unreliable because of the irregularities and the fraud” Binnall said.
Dan Kulin, a spokesman for Clark County, said in an emailed statement that the county has not yet seen the lawsuit but that it “sounds like they are repeating allegations the courts have already rejected, misstating and misrepresenting evidence provided in those proceedings, and parroting erroneous allegations made by partisans without first-hand knowledge of the facts.”
The lawsuit itself asks a judge to either declare Trump the winner of the state’s presidential election — through a state law allowing a court to declare winners in elections where evidence is presented that a person other than the defendant (in this case, Biden) received the largest number of votes — or to annul the results of the presidential election and prohibit the appointment of electors to cast the state’s six electoral votes.
The lawsuit recycles several past complaints and issues raised about Clark County’s Agilis signature verification machine, which was used as a first-pass check on signatures on mail ballots. County officials said the machine only accepted about 30 percent of ballots, with the rest hand-checked by election staff.
The lawsuit says the machine was set at a tolerance level below manufacturer specifications and that the photo quality of voter signatures used to match signatures submitted with mail ballots was below minimum specifications. The Trump campaign also said in the lawsuit that state law did not allow for a machine to automatically assess signatures, and instead should have required a manual verification of mail ballot signatures. It also reiterates previous concerns with the county’s process for ballot tabulation and observation.
Those arguments regarding the signature verification machine and ballot observation plans were raised in an earlier evidentiary hearing before the election in Carson City District Court, but were uniformly rejected by Judge James Wilson, who said the campaign failed to show “any error or flaw” in the verification process used by the county.
Binnall also said that the campaign would be presenting new arguments regarding Clark County’s use of the Agilis signature verification machine, though the initial lawsuit filed did not present any new evidence about issues with the machine.
In the lawsuit, the campaign also says it has identified several pools of allegedly invalid voters who nonetheless cast a ballot in the election. This includes 15,000 voters alleged to have voted in another state, 1,000 votes cast by individuals who did not meet residency requirements, and at least 500 votes cast by deceased individuals.
The lawsuit did not include direct evidence to back up those claims. An earlier list of about 3,000 voters who were alleged to have moved out of state (which was sent to the Department of Justice) likely included several military absentee ballots or other voters legally allowed to cast a ballot while not in Nevada.
The lawsuit also says that at least 500 provisional ballots, which are cast by individuals who have some issue with their voter registration, were included in official vote totals without the voters ever resolving the issue requiring them to be provisional. The complaint also says that voters were given arbitrary or misleading information about the provisional ballot process, including some voters who allegedly arrived at polling sites but were told their mail ballot had already been cast.
It additionally raises issues with a voting drive arranged by the Nevada Native Vote Project, which allegedly conducted a voting drive on several Native American reservations and gave “incentives” such as T-shirts, gas cards, and raffle tickets in exchange for voting. In the lawsuit, the Trump campaign says it has video evidence showing a volunteer wearing a “Biden-Harris” mask and encouraging voters to cast a ballot for Biden.
“The evidence will show that the reduction in votes for Defendant, however, is 40,000 or more than the reduction for the Contestant or, at the very least, in an amount sufficient to raise reasonable doubt as to the outcome of the Election,” the lawsuit states.
Nevada Native Vote Project strategy coordinator Ethan Doig said the organization is working on responding to the claims, but asserted that the organization encouraged Nevada Natives to cast their votes, not to vote specifically for one candidate over another.
“It’s a baseless claim. We engaged with Trump voters and Biden voters across the board,” Doig said, adding that ensuring the Native vote was counted, regardless of who the support went to, was of the “utmost importance” for the organization.
He added that the claim of Biden-Harris materials in the background of event photos and videos simply demonstrates the lack of attention the Trump campaign gave Native voters.
“If the Trump campaign and Nevada GOP had shown up and done events on tribal lands, they would have been in those photos as well. Who shows up is who counts.”
Updated at 4:20 p.m. on 11/17/2020 to include a response from the Nevada Native Vote Project.