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Trump campaign sues Nevada, alleges counting of non-postmarked mail ballots

The suit hinges on an official’s testimony that said non-postmarked ballots can be counted within three days of Election Day, but did not provide direct proof.
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
CourtsElection 2024

The Trump campaign has filed its third lawsuit challenging election procedures in Nevada, now alleging that state elections officials are counting non-postmarked mail ballots after Election Day, without providing clear evidence of such a practice occurring.

The suit, announced Monday and filed in Carson City District Court by lawyers also representing the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Nevada GOP, hinges on April testimony from Mark Wlaschin, the deputy secretary of state for elections, who said the office accepts and counts ballots received in the mail up to three days after Election Day, even if it does not have a clear postmark.

State law requires all mail ballots to be postmarked by Election Day in order to be counted, but allows for mail ballots that have a postmark with a date that “cannot be determined” and received within the three days following Election Day to be counted. The suit alleges that the state is too broadly interpreting this law by also counting received mail ballots that are not postmarked at all.

“It is therefore possible, if not probable, that mail ballots deposited in the mail after election day could arrive at mail-ballot processing facilities within the three-day deadline, and under Deputy Secretary Wlaschin’s erroneous legal interpretation, those untimely ballots would be counted if they do not bear a postmark,” the lawsuit states.

The suit requests that a judge order the state to not count any ballots that lack a postmark received after Election Day.

An RNC press release also said “we have discovered that Nevada election officials routinely count non-postmarked mail ballots received after Election Day,” but again did not provide any examples.

A spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit, but provided a memo that the office sent to local election officials last week about the interpretation of that state law.  

In the memo, Wlaschin wrote that mail ballots that have been received with “no visible postmark should be interpreted to have an indeterminate postmark,” and that those ballots can be counted if received within three days of Election Day. He also wrote that the office will seek to codify the guidance as a state regulation after the election cycle.

This marks the third lawsuit that the RNC and Trump campaign have filed in Nevada this election cycle. 

In early May, the groups sued to block the Nevada law that allows ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted up to four days after Election Day, alleging it violates federal law because it does not conform to the Election Day deadline established by the federal government. The same parties filed a separate federal lawsuit in March alleging serious errors in the state’s voter roll maintenance.

Updated on 6/4/24 at 7:06 p.m. to clarify when the secretary of state's offie will seek to codify guidance on non-postmarked ballots as a state regulation.


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