Judge denies Trump campaign request on early voting | NevadaAppeal.com

Judge denies Trump campaign request on early voting

The Associated Press

Jacqueline Lima, 20, walks with her four-year-old sister, Karla, holding an American flag, and gets serenaded by a mariachi group after Lima voted for the first time, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Las Vegas. Immigrant advocates in Las Vegas worked to get more U.S.-born Latinos to the polls on Election Day as early voter numbers suggest a surge in Hispanic voters. Lima voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump campaign officials on Tuesday alleged "egregious violations" of early-voting rules at four locations in Las Vegas, where Clark County officials acknowledged voters kept casting ballots past posted closing times.

In a complaint filed with the Nevada Secretary of State, and in a lawsuit filed in state court in Las Vegas, the campaign alleged local election officials broke the law by letting people vote for almost two hours at early voting sites, including a Mexican market that was expected to close at 8 p.m. Friday.

The last early ballot was cast at another early voting site at a shopping center in suburban southeast Las Vegas at 10:10 p.m., Clark County officials said.

"We want to be able to identify exactly what happened at those four locations," Brian Hardy, an attorney for the Trump campaign, told a state court judge who rejected his request for an order to impound early voting records from the sites — also including a shopping center in North Las Vegas and a site just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Hardy has in recent days also defended the state Republican Party in a federal lawsuit filed by state Democrats alleging Trump supporters planned to deploy poll-watchers and exit-pollers to intimidate Nevada voters.

Stakes are high in presidential battleground Nevada, where more than half of the state's 1.5 million active registered voters went to the polls early, and where Trump referred to the late closures as evidence the voting is rigged.

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Campaign polls have showed Trump and Hillary Clinton in a seesaw battle in the Silver State, where Latinos have registered to vote this year in large numbers. Nevada voters are about 39 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican and about 21 percent nonpartisan. Six electoral votes are at stake.

Hardy asked Clark County District Court Judge Gloria Sturman to order the county registrar of voters, Joseph Gloria, to keep separate the ballots cast at the four locations, and to preserve voting records including the names of poll workers.

The Trump lawyer suggested any votes cast after the posted closing times could be contested as invalid.

The judge responded that Gloria already is required by law to preserve those records, and the secretary of state, Barbara Cegavske, is responsible for investigating the complaint.

Cegavske spokeswoman Gail Anderson confirmed receipt of the Trump complaint, and said it will be investigated.

Sturman also said she was concerned that a court order could make secret votes public by linking voters to ballots, and that making the names of poll workers part of the court record could expose "people who are doing their civic duty … to public attention, ridicule and harassment."

"If the secretary of state compels Mr. Gloria to provide the information, that is different," the judge said.

Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin welcomed the ruling. He characterized the lawsuit and complaint as a "frivolous attempt to disenfranchise voters in Clark County" and a desperate response to record early-voting turnout.

Democrats had a six-point lead over Republicans in early voting turnout in Nevada, but the GOP hoped for higher Election Day turnout.

County officials said it has long been customary to allow early voting sites to stay open until no one is in line.

"If a line still exists, you can get in that line," Mary-Anne Miller, the attorney representing Gloria and Clark County, told the judge.

Dan Kulin, a county spokesman, said later that rules are stricter on Election Day, when polls statewide close at 7 p.m. and only people in line at that time are allowed to proceed to the ballot box.

"Most, if not all, of our early voting locations had lines of voters when their scheduled closing time passed," Kulin said in an email. "As has been our practice for many, many years, those early voting locations continued processing voters until the lines were gone."

••••

2:10 p.m.

No complaints were filed by Democrats who had alleged that Republican and Donald Trump poll-watchers and exit-pollers would harass voters in Nevada, so a federal judge in Las Vegas canceled a hearing he tentatively set for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware set the time on Monday, after rejecting calls by Democrats for court orders against the Trump campaign, adviser Roger Stone and his group "Stop the Steal."

The campaign and Stone's group told the judge that volunteers were specifically advised what they could and couldn't do at voting sites.

That included not talking with people within 100 feet of a polling place, and not photographing or using video or audio to record people without that person's permission.

1:10 p.m.

Election officials in Las Vegas say people were allowed to cast ballots on the last day of early voting until the lines stopped.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin says the practice has for many years been to keep taking voters until no one is in line.

Kulin says some polls remained open past their 8 p.m. Friday posted closing time, and the last vote was cast at one site at 10:10 p.m.

The Donald Trump campaign has filed a complaint with the Nevada Secretary of State alleging that keeping polls open past posted closing time violates the integrity of the election.

But the campaign lost a bid to get a state court judge in Las Vegas to issue a court order to preserve records about ballots cast after posted closings at four locations in the Las Vegas area.

The campaign says allowing people to vote past closing time was illegal, but the county says they were accommodating people already in line.

————

12:20 p.m.

A state court judge in Nevada denied a request from the Donald Trump campaign to issue a court order to preserve names of poll workers for a complaint about what the campaign calls early voting irregularities.

Clark County District Court Judge Gloria Sturman said Tuesday that making the names part of the court record could expose the workers to possible "public attention, ridicule and harassment."

She says the county registrar is already required to keep the records, and the Nevada Secretary of State is responsible for investigating the complaint.

Trump campaign attorney Brian Hardy told the judge he wants to preserve records about late ballots on the last day of early voting at four locations in the Las Vegas area.

The campaign says allowing people to vote past closing time was illegal, but the county says they were accommodating people already in line.

Neither side commented outside the courtroom.

11:50 a.m.

The Donald Trump campaign says allowing early voting sites to stay open past closing time in the Las Vegas area was an "egregious violation of election law."

Nevada state campaign director Charles Munoz said in a statement the suit describes multiple incidents where election law was broken, including one where a county employee allowed people to vote even though the lines had been cleared and closure announcements had been made.

County officials have said there was no formal extension of closing time, but elections officials often keep sites open to accommodate all voters in line.

The Trump campaign is suing Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria and asking a judge to order the ballots impounded and segregated.

A spokesman for Clark County says it already preserves its early-voting records as required by state law.

———

11:30 a.m.

Officials in Las Vegas are responding to a lawsuit from the Donald Trump campaign claiming polling places stayed open too late during early voting.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said in a statement Tuesday the complaint would require them to preserve voting records, and they're already doing that as required by state law.

Long lines kept polls open past the 7 p.m. posted closing time last Friday at a Mexican market and several shopping centers, including one in southeast Las Vegas where officials say the last voter cast a ballot after 10 p.m.

State Republican party chief Michael McDonald has also criticized the process, but Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign calls the suit frivolous.

———

10:55 a.m.

The Donald Trump campaign has filed complaints in Nevada alleging polling place "anomalies" during early voting in the Las Vegas area.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court in Las Vegas asks a judge to order the Clark County registrar of voters to impound and preserve records from four voting spots that complaints say stayed open too late last Friday.

A morning hearing is scheduled in Clark County District Court on the filing, which refers to a voting irregularities complaint filed with the Nevada Secretary of State.

Long lines kept polls open past the 7 p.m. posted closing time at sites including a Mexican market and several shopping centers, including one in southeast Las Vegas where officials say the last voter cast a ballot after 10 p.m.

State Republican party chief Michael McDonald has also criticized the process.

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

———

10:45 a.m.

Immigrant advocates in Las Vegas are walking Latino neighbors to get Hispanics who haven't voted yet to the polls.

The group Immigrant Voters Win PAC sent a mariachi group to an eastern Las Vegas home on Tuesday to make sure 20-year-old Jacqueline Lima voted.

Mariachi Vegas Internacional serenaded Lima and her 4-year-old sister, Karla, as they walked to Halle Hewetson Elementary School to vote in the mostly Latino neighborhood.

Lima said she was honored to get a serenade as she went to vote for the first time.

Raul Sosa, a bass guitarist with the mariachi group, also voted for the first time this year.

Both said they voted for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and feared Republican Donald Trump's immigration proposals.

———

9:35 a.m.

Officials say morning voting is generally running smoothly at Nevada polling sites.

Secretary of State Spokeswoman Gail Anderson said the office hadn't gotten reports of major problems around the state as of midmorning Tuesday.

The Review-Journal reports the line at the Rainbow Library in Las Vegas slowed to a crawl early because there weren't enough electronic cards available to run all the voting machines there, but the site was back up to full strength by 9 a.m.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. Nevada voters are playing a big role this year as they decide where the swing state will fall in the presidential election.

They'll also choose a replacement for Sen. Harry Reid in a race that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.

———

8:45 a.m.

Las Vegas voter Ricardo Lara says he's anxious to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton because he said Donald Trump doesn't like Mexicans like him. Lara is originally from Mexico but has lived in the U.S. for 14 years and works for a contractor at a nearby Air Force Base.

The 42-year-old man had trouble finding parking Friday at the crowded Cardenas market early voting site. It was shut down before he was able to cast a ballot, so he planned to vote Tuesday.

His wife Laura waited for him outside the Mexican grocery store but couldn't get her citizenship in time to vote.

"It's not fear," he said in Spanish about the prospect of Trump becoming president, "but I don't like it. Not for myself, but for the people who don't have papers."

——

7 a.m.

Polls have opened around Nevada with voters in the swing state expected to play an outsized role when they decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump should get their six coveted electoral votes.

Nevada polling places opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. Voters will also weigh in on a highly competitive race to replace Sen. Harry Reid that could determine which party holds the Senate majority.

Just over half of Nevada's 1.5 million active registered voters have already cast ballots through early or absentee voting. Democrats have a six-point lead over Republicans in early turnout, but Republicans think they can overcome that deficit on Election Day, when they traditionally outperform Democrats.

Democrats hope anti-Trump sentiment will motivate voters who will also help them clinch two competitive U.S. House seats in Nevada.

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