Federal Judge Again Rejects Right-Wing Challenge to Nevada Election Worker Protection Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge on Monday rejected a right-wing legal challenge to Nevada’s recently enacted “Election Worker Protection Law” after previously dismissing the case last October. 

Signed into law last May by Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) following unanimous passage through the Legislature, the legislation creates new felony offenses that aim to protect election officials from intimidation, coercion and election interference. 

The law, which was enacted against the backdrop of extraordinarily high turnover and increasing threats to election workers, prohibits the dissemination of “any personal identifying information or sensitive information of an elections official without the consent of the elections official” among other provisions. 

Despite bipartisan support for the law aimed at protecting election workers, Nevada Republican National Committeewoman Sigal Chattah filed a lawsuit in June 2023 alleging that the law’s protections are unconstitutionally “overbroad” and “vague.”

Chattah — who is herself an avowed election denier and failed Nevada attorney general candidate — mounted the legal challenge on behalf of four Nevada residents, who claimed that they could be wrongly prosecuted under the law. 

One of the four plaintiffs included Robert Beadles, a member of Washoe County’s Republican Party who is known for promulgating unfounded claims of election fraud and conspiracy theories. During the 2022 midterm elections, Beadles filed an unsuccessful lawsuit asking for election observers to be present at “every step of the election,” including at drop boxes and voting machines. 

In an October 2023 ruling, Biden-appointed Judge Cristina D. Silva denied the plaintiffs’ move to block the law and dismissed the lawsuit, holding that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they are harmed by the law. 

Subsequent to the initial dismissal, Silva gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to file an amended complaint, which she once again dismissed for lack of standing in Monday’s ruling. “Because I find that plaintiffs fail to allege a credible threat of prosecution and thus fail to allege an injury-in-fact, I find that there is no standing,” Silva’s order stated. 

In Monday’s order, Silva declined to give the plaintiffs another opportunity to amend their lawsuit, instead dismissing the case with prejudice and putting an end to the litigation altogether. 

Having survived a right-wing legal challenge, the law will remain in effect and continue to safeguard Nevada election workers during the upcoming 2024 elections.

In response to the ruling, Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar (D), who championed the legislation, stated that he is “grateful to Judge Silva for dismissing the case,” adding that “[a]s we approach the June Primary and November Presidential Election, our local election officials and poll workers will be protected when they go to work and at home thanks to this bill.”

Read the order here.

Learn more about the case here.