Trump and the RNC File Second Lawsuit Targeting Nevada’s Mail-in Ballots

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Republican National Committee (RNC), the campaign for former President Donald Trump and the Nevada Republican Party filed a new lawsuit on May 31 challenging Nevada’s procedures for accepting mail-in ballots. The new lawsuit specifically targets the state’s practice of counting mail-in ballots received after Election Day that don’t have a postmark.

Under Nevada state law, mail-in ballots can be counted by county election officials up to four days after Election Day, so long as the ballots are postmarked by that day. But the law also states that, if a postmark cannot be determined, the ballot would be counted so long as it arrives up to three days after Election Day. During a state Legislature hearing in April, Mark Wlaschin — Nevada’s deputy secretary of state for elections — testified that it’s the state’s policy to allow county officials to count non-postmarked ballots that they receive up to the third day after Election Day. 

The lawsuit challenges this policy, alleging that it violates state law because the ballots that do not have a postmark are being counted after Election Day, along with ballots with postmarks that are “illegible or otherwise cannot be determined.” This, according to the complaint, unfairly “dilutes the weight of timely, valid ballots.” 

During his testimony in April, Wlaschin explained that a major reason for Nevada’s law to allow an extended time period to count mail-in ballots is because of the long time it can take for a ballot postmarked before Election Day to make its way to county election officials. “We have already gathered the numbers of ballots across certain counties that were postmarked by Election Day but simply got to the county election official too late. Those ballots were not counted, even though they were cast legally by a voter within the timelines that the statues allow,” Wlaschin said in April.

In April, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it’s moving forward with plans to move Reno, Nevada’s mail-processing operations to San Francisco, California in January of 2025. The proposed move could have devastating effects on the timeliness of affected Nevada residents submitting their mail-in ballots in future elections, which has drawn sharp criticism from Nevada’s governor, county officials and state and federal lawmakers. “This has the potential to disenfranchise thousands of Nevada voters and would unquestionably impact the results of Nevada’s elections,” Nevada Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar (D) said in a February letter about the proposed move.

This is the third lawsuit filed by the RNC — and the second filed by the Trump campaign — against the state of Nevada. In early May, the RNC and Trump filed a similar lawsuit challenging the entirety of Nevada’s mail-in ballot receipt deadline of allowing postmarked ballots to be counted four days after Election Day (and three days for ballots with indeterminate postmark), alleging that it violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and pro-voting groups intervened in that lawsuit, defending Nevada’s mail-in ballot receipt law. The DNC criticized the RNC’s “narrow interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution, writing that if the RNC were correct in that view, “then the consequences for Nevada elections, and elections across the country would be nothing short of profound.”

Read the lawsuit here. 

Learn more about the case here.