Nevada Judge Dismisses Trump Claim Over Early Voting

Few problems have been reported at the polls, despite weeks of competing forecasts of voter intimidation, fraud

Cardenas grocery store, in a predominantly Latino area of Las Vegas, was the site of heavy early voting on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Cardenas grocery store, in a predominantly Latino area of Las Vegas, was the site of heavy early voting on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted November 8, 2016 at 1:25pm

A Nevada judge on Tuesday denied a request from the Donald Trump campaign to set aside ballots it contested, concluding the first of what could be a raft of legal challenges concerning problems at the polls.

With conservative and liberal groups launching extensive efforts to monitor the election, there were scattered reports and complaints about voter irregularities throughout the day Tuesday, though none appeared to support Trump’s claim that the election was “rigged.”

A coalition of 100 civil rights groups reported Tuesday morning that it was monitoring “isolated incidents,” across the country, including long lines, broken polling machines and shortages of Spanish language translators. But the overall experience for most Americans had so far been routine, the group reported.

“The phrase used most often is, ‘run of the mill with numerous events being handled and resolved,’” the group Election Protection said in a late-morning statement.

Other observers said the volume of complaints was unusual, although most said there was no evidence of the “rigged” election that Trump had predicted.

“There is tremendous disruption at the polls today,” Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told USA Today. “This election may be the most chaotic election … in the last 50 years.”

The Trump complaint, filed in a county court in Nevada on Monday, claimed that a Las Vegas polling place at a Latino market was unfairly allowed to stay open late during early voting last week, Reuters reported. Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are in a close contest in Nevada, one of the states that the election could come down to. 

Clark County Judge Gloria Sturman reportedly told the Trump campaign’s lawyer that she would not set aside the ballots in question.

It is common practice in early voting to let people get in line after the official closing time, unlike on election day when people can’t get in line when the polls close, she said, according to Bloomberg News.

Election monitors reported that more than half of the intimidation reports they had received at their national hotline came from Pennsylvania, another battleground state. Those reports included complaints that voters were illegally asked to provide identification and that counties were failing to provide Spanish translators required by the Voting Rights Act.

In Texas, the group reported long lines and poor signage. More than 100 voters were turned away from a polling place in Fort Bend County because of malfunctioning machines.

The group also reported problems with voting machines in Virginia and North Carolina, among other issues.

Another nonpartisan group monitoring election issues nationwide reported multiple accounts of “aggressive and intimidating” behavior at polls in Florida, another battleground state, The Washington Post reported.

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the paper that her group had received reports from Miami-Dade County of “yelling, people using megaphones aggressively.” The group running an independent effort to field voter complaints and questions. In Jacksonville, in the northeast corner of the state, Clarke said, “an unauthorized individual was found inside [a] polling place.”

In the weeks leading up the election, civil rights groups raised alarms about a 2013 Supreme Court decision that allowed a number of states to enact strict voter ID laws and prompted the Department of Justice to send fewer trained election observers to polling places around the country than in previous years.

Republican nominee Donald Trump, meanwhile, encouraged his supporters to monitor polling places in “certain areas,” where he claimed there could be widespread fraud.