Las Vegas Sun

December 12, 2017

Currently: 44° — Complete forecast

Judge denies Trump request on alleged early voting irregularities

Image

Steve Marcus

Voters make a line at an early voting site in a Cardenas supermarket in Las Vegas Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 | 2:41 p.m.

A Clark County District Court judge this morning denied the Trump campaign’s request to preserve evidence from four polling places it alleges violated election rules by staying open late.

During a hastily arranged hearing, Judge Gloria Sturman said the Trump campaign had not exhausted administrative remedies through the Nevada secretary of state and as required under state election laws.

In the complaint filed overnight, the Trump campaign alleged that, in keeping polls open late Friday, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria's actions “were not random and neutral in their effect, but very much appear to have been intentionally coordinated with Democratic activists in order to skew the vote unlawfully in favor of Democratic candidates.”

Brian Hardy of Las Vegas is listed as the attorney on the lawsuit filing.

The locations in question are Cardenas Market, 4421 E. Bonanza Road; Deer Springs Town Center in North Las Vegas; Silverado Ranch Plaza at Eastern Avenue and Silverado Ranch Boulevard; and a voting place just west of the the Las Vegas Strip on Harmon Avenue.

Long lines kept polls open past the 7 p.m. posted closing time on Friday, the final day of early voting in Nevada, at sites where officials say the last voter cast a ballot after 10 p.m. An attorney for Gloria told Sturman that, unlike on Election Day, early voters are allowed to get in line after the posted closing time, and the polls remain open until everyone has cast a ballot.

Most, if not all, early voting locations on Friday had voters lined up past the closing time, county spokesman Dan Kulin said. "As has been our practice for many, many years those early voting locations continued processing voters until the lines were gone," he said.

The Trump campaign, which also filed an election integrity violation report on Monday with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, asked the judge to order that Gloria preserve all documents, records, log books and other evidence in the event the secretary of state decides to pursue an investigation into the four early voting sites.

But Sturman noted that Gloria was already compelled by law to preserve election records. Sturman also noted that the request to preserve those documents seemed premature, given the secretary of state has not opened any investigations into alleged election misconduct.

“This is Election Day. (The registrar’s) got other things to be doing,” Sturman said.

The Trump campaign also asked the judge to order Gloria to preserve other records, including the names of the early voting poll workers, in the event an investigation into potential misconduct were to take place.

Sturman said that poll workers had a privacy interest, and she worried they would face retribution if their names were released. “Do you watch Twitter? Have you watched any cable news show?” she said. “There are, in the vernacular, trolls."

After the judge's decision, a lawyer representing the Trump campaign made the best of it, saying that having its requests read into the court records would help should they need to pursue the matter after the election. “I think we’ve created an adequate record here of what was requested and the kind of information and what was (needed) to be preserved," the lawyer said.

In a statement from Charles Munoz, state director for Trump, the campaign said the proceedings resulted in Gloria "agreeing to preserve evidence which may becomes necessary as the secretary of state investigates election issues raised by the campaign. As such, irrespective of the court's ruling, the campaign obtained the exact relief it requested. In addition, the attorney for Clark County acknowledged that the county allowed individuals at select voting locations to cast ballots after the scheduled closing times."

A lawyer for Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign dismissed the legal action in Nevada with a Tweet calling it "a frivolous lawsuit."

Maritza Rodriguez, the Latino outreach director for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, estimated nearly 5,000 people cast their votes Friday at the Cardenas Market.

Friday’s crowd was by far the largest for early voting at the market, where people also cast their ballots on Wednesday and Thursday, she said.

“My day started at 10 in the morning on Friday and I didn’t leave here until 11:30 p.m.,” said Rodriguez, who was at the market today directing people to Election Day polling sites.

When asked about the Trump lawsuit, Rodriguez shook her head and said no election rules had been violated. She accused the Trump campaign of intimidation, noting that a man was taking pictures of her and voters on Friday and “trying to cause problems.”

“The polling people were right here and allowed us to continue until everyone had voted,” Rodriguez said in Spanish.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy