President Donald Trump on Monday said the Republican Party would go to court to block an effort by the Democratic state legislature in Nevada to mail ballots to all active registered voters in November, as the President falsely asserted the new Nevada law would no longer require signature checks on mail-in and absentee ballots.
"There's never been a push like this for mail-in ballots," President Trump said at a Monday evening news conference at the White House.
“They’re using COVID to try to get the mail-in ballots,” the President said of Democrats, who denounced his legal threat.
“Nevada will not be intimidated by you, Mr. President, or let you work to suppress access to the ballot box,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
But the specifics of the President’s complaints about the new Nevada election law, did not exactly track with the details from debate in the Silver State.
For example, the President claimed elections officials would no longer check the signatures of mail-in ballots in Nevada - a simple check of the legislative language of the bill shows that charge is not true.
“Donald Trump is concerned about one thing and one thing only,” said Democratic elections lawyer Mark Elias. “He is concerned about his own re-election.”
The new Nevada election law would make the following notable changes:
+ Mail-in ballots would be sent to all ‘active’ registered voters, omitting those who have not participated in recent elections, or had mail returned from elections officials.
+ Allow county elections officials to start processing and checking mail-in ballots 15 days before Election Day, rather than waiting until 4 days after the election (current law).
+ Allow county elections officials to give notice to voters of any procedural defects with their mail-in ballot, allowing them extra time after the election to 'cure' the ballot, so it can be counted.
+ Allows absentee ballots postmarked on Election Day to arrive in the mail up to one week after Election Day.
+ Expands the ability of voters to designate a person to return their ballot to elections officials.
That final provision - derided as 'ballot harvesting' by Republicans - will be part of the GOP legal challenge.
Nevada will become the eighth state to allow for expanded mail-in voting in November.
Five states - Washington State, Oregon, Hawaii, Utah, and Colorado - normally conduct their elections by mail.
This year, because of the Coronavirus outbreak, California, Vermont, and now Nevada have made changes to their election law to allow ballots to be sent to all active registered voters.