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Republican groups file another lawsuit on Nevada mail ballot process

Republican groups filed another lawsuit challenging Nevada’s mail ballot law, this time specifically seeking to prohibit the counting of mail ballots received without a postmark.

The Republican National Committee, Nevada Republican Party, Donald Trump’s campaign and a state resident filed a lawsuit in Carson City against Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar and county clerks and registrars on Monday.

“We are committed to ensuring the integrity of Nevada’s elections and inspiring voter confidence,” said Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald in a statement. “Allowing ballots without postmarks to be illegally counted undermines both. We will continue to fight for fair elections for all Nevadans where only legal votes are counted and the system is secure.”

Plaintiffs argue that counting non-postmarked mail ballots is not permitted by Nevada law, which allows late-arriving mail ballots to be counted when the ballot is accompanied by a valid postmark indicating it was mailed on or before Election Day, or if the ballot has a postmark whose date cannot be determined.

Nevada law says mail ballots must be mailed to the county clerk and postmarked on or before the day of the election and received by the clerk no later than 5 p.m. on the fourth day after an election. If a mail ballot is received no later than 5 p.m. on the third day following the election and the date of the postmark cannot be determined, the mail ballot shall be deemed to have been postmarked on or before Election Day.

According to internal data from the secretary of state’s office, mail ballots received after Election Day in the 2022 general election represented 5.8 percent of total ballots cast in Clark County, and 2.9 percent in Washoe County.

Monday’s lawsuit is the latest attempt from national Republicans to fight for what they term “fair elections.” The RNC is involved in more than 80 election-related lawsuits in 25 states. In May, the same groups challenged Nevada’s state law that accepts mail ballots up to four days after an election. In that lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that because Congress established a uniform Election Day, accepting ballots after the election violates the U.S. Constitution.

The Nevada secretary of state’s office declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

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The Republican challengers claim if non-postmarked ballots received after Election Day are counted, the RNC will have to devote resources to ensuring that only ballots mailed by election day are counted.

“Nevada citizens rely on consistent application of election rules to ensure free and fair elections,” the lawsuit says. “How mail ballots received after Election Day are counted is an issue of critical importance for the upcoming Nevada general election.”

The plaintiffs — which include officials who have long promoted unfounded claims of a stolen election in 2020 — also argue that since in their view that late-arriving ballots without a postmark are not valid, “counting them dilutes the weight of timely, valid ballots.”

They also make similar arguments as their earlier lawsuit in May, arguing that because Democrats more frequently vote by mail, the “dilution of votes on account of late-arriving mail ballots directly and specifically harms Plaintiffs.”

In response, the Democratic National Committee requested to join as a defendant and argued the Republicans’ lawsuit would disenfranchise voters.

Republican mail ballot lawsuit by Jessica Hill on Scribd

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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