Nevada judge denies Trump request to preserve early voting ballots

CLARK COUNTY, Nev. — A Nevada court judge denied a request Tuesday from Donald Trump’s campaign to direct a county registrar of voters to preserve and separate ballots from voting machines in four early voting sites in the Las Vegas area.

The Trump campaign said Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria kept polling locations open two hours beyond their designated closing times.

Clark County, Nevada saw its record for single-day early vote turnout shattered Friday when 57,174 people cast their ballots, according to data from the Nevada secretary of state’s office. A record number of Latino voters showed up to the polls, as Hillary Clinton and Democrats sought to build up a prohibitive advantage over Trump in early voting before Tuesday in the key state.

Trump’s lawyers asked Monday for an order to have the pertinent early vote ballots — those cast after the designated polling hours Friday — not to be “co-mingled or interspersed” with other ballots.

Judge Gloria Sturman, of the District Court for Clark County, ruled from the bench, saying Gloria was already obligated by state law to maintain the records that the Trump campaign is seeking.

“I can’t obligate him to do something he is already obligated to do,” Sturman said. She later added, “This is Election Day. He has other things to be doing.”

The lawsuit is a sign that the legal team for the Trump campaign is aggressively laying the groundwork for potential legal challenges — big and small.

The lawsuit targets polling places in the greater Las Vegas area that have larger minority voting precincts.

Dan Kulin, a spokesperson for the county, told CNN that no early voting stations extended their closing times. They did, however, process voters who were in line at closing time to allow as many people to vote as possible.

 

Officials with the Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign declined to further discuss their action with reporters on a conference call early Tuesday afternoon.

Nevada’s Republican Party chairman, Michael McDonald, told a Trump audience in Reno on Saturday that polling locations were kept open late so that a “certain group” could vote.

“Last night, in Clark County, they kept a poll open ’til 10 o’clock at night so a certain group could vote,” McDonald said in introductory remarks at a Trump rally. “The polls are supposed to close at 7. This was kept open until 10. Yeah, you feel free right now? You think this is a free and easy election? That’s why it’s important.”

Clark County, which includes the suburbs of Las Vegas, has a large Hispanic population and could figure prominently in who wins the White House.

At Saturday’s rally, Trump suggested that the polling location’s extended closing time to allow voters to cast their ballots was a sign of a “rigged system” pitted against his campaign.

“It’s being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring democratic voters in. Folks, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged system and we’re going to beat it. We’re going to beat it,” Trump said.