Judge rejects Trump's request in Nevada early voting dispute

Voters cast ballots in polling station located in a farm shed during the U.S. presidential election near Nevada, Iowa, U.S., November 8, 2016 © Scott Morgan
Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit in Nevada state court alleging at least four Las Vegas area polling places stayed open "two hours beyond the designated time" during early voting. A judge has denied the request to isolate ballots from those locations.

The campaign for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sued Joe P. Gloria, the registrar of voters in Clark County, Nevada, claiming election officials violated state law in allowing people to join an early-voting line after 8pm. The primary polling location in question was east of downtown Las Vegas, at Cardenas Market, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Clark County includes Las Vegas and the city's suburbs. While Nevada is considered a swing state, Las Vegas is a Democratic Party stronghold and has sizable minority-voting precincts.

"This is a lawsuit about the rules of the game," said David Bossie, Trump's deputy campaign manager, according to Reuters.

Trump's lawyers asked that relevant early voting ballots be kept separate from other ballots, but a Nevada state judge denied that request on Tuesday.

"The petition from the Trump campaign is a request to have us preserve the records from early voting," said Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin, according to the Sun. "This is required by state law, and so it is something we are already doing."

Polling locations are allowed to stay open beyond closing time to allow voters already in line to cast a ballot. The lawsuit alleges that Gloria went beyond that allowance, keeping polling locations open "two hours beyond the designated closing time."

On Saturday, Michael McDonald, Nevada's Republican Party chairman, said at a Trump rally in Reno that polling locations were kept open so a "certain group" could take advantage.

"Last night, in Clark County, they kept a poll open 'til 10 o'clock at night so a certain group could vote," McDonald said, according to CNN. "The polls are supposed to close at 7. This was kept open until 10. Yeah, you feel free right now? You think this is a free and easy election? That's why it's important."

At the rally, Trump said the Clark County polling locations were an example of a "rigged system" intended to undo his campaign.

"It's being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring democratic voters in. Folks, it's a rigged system. It's a rigged system and we're going to beat it. We're going to beat it," Trump said.

Clark County denied any wrongdoing in a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

"Also, on Friday, most if not all of our early voting locations had lines of voters when their scheduled closing time passed. As has been our practice for many, many years those early voting locations continued processing voters until the lines were gone," the county said.

On October 30, the Nevada Democratic Party sued the state Republican Party, alleging voter intimidation. Citing various examples, the complaint alleged that "in Nevada, Trump supporters and volunteers for the campaign have harassed and intimidated voters in Clark County."