The Donald Trump campaign lost its bid Friday to overturn the results of the Nevada election and stop the state’s six Democratic presidential electors from voting for Joe Biden.
In a 35-page ruling, Judge James Todd Russell said he saw no clear or convincing proof “under any standard of evidence” that he should declare Trump the winner in Nevada or to nullify the results of the statewide presidential vote.
“Contestants did not prove ... that illegal votes were cast and counted that should have been rejected during the signature verification process, or legal votes were not counted that should have been accepted” in numbers that would have swayed the outcome of the election, the judge said.
The judge acknowledged during a hearing Thursday the case was headed to the Nevada Supreme Court, where it is expected to get fast-track handling and a possible ruling before the Electoral College finalizes nationwide results in 10 days.
Attorney Jesse Binnall, the attorney heading the challenge on behalf of six would-be Republican electors for Trump, did not immediately respond to messages.
Last week, the seven justices, who are elected in nonpartisan elections, certified the Nov. 3 vote as official. Of 1.4 million votes cast in Nevada, Biden won by 33,596 votes, or nearly 2.4%.
In the Las Vegas area, a Democratic stronghold and the most racially diverse part of an otherwise Republican state, Biden won by 9.35%.
Claiming the election was stolen, Binnall told the judge on Thursday that so many tainted votes were cast, primarily in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, that Trump won the state — not Biden.
Kevin Hamilton, a national Democratic Party elections litigator representing Nevada’s six Biden electors, said there was no evidence any illegal votes were cast, or by whom.
Hamilton compared the Nevada case to futile efforts by the Trump campaign in other presidential battleground states and urged Russell to reject Binnall’s “unprecedented and breathtaking” request to nullify the Nevada presidential vote.
“This election was fair, the votes were counted correctly, and Joe Biden won,” the Democratic Party lawyer told the judge. “It’s time for the contestants to accept that, and it’s time for this meritless case to come to an end.”
Of about 50 cases brought by Trump’s campaign and his allies nationwide, more than 30 have been rejected or dropped according to an Associated Press tally .
U.S. Attorney General William Barr told AP on Tuesday that the Justice Department had not uncovered widespread voting fraud that could have changed the outcome of the election.
Binnall alleged sweeping fraud and irregularities in Nevada, asserted that votes were changed “literally in the dead of night,” and pointed to Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria’s report to the Clark County commission on Nov. 16 that 936 “discrepancies” had been found among the 977,185 ballots cast countywide in the presidential race.
Gloria said examples included inadvertently canceled votes, reactivated voter cards and check-in errors at polling places. He said a recount would not change that total. The commission certified the Las Vegas-area vote — except a commission district where 10 votes separated two candidates after more than 153,000 ballots were counted.
Trump took to Twitter that day to say the results amounted to “large scale voter discrepancy” in Clark County.
Binnall’s statewide contest-of-election action, filed the next day, alleged voter fraud and ballot irregularities and tied voting drives in Indian communities to the Biden campaign. It said people illegally received items of value such as gift and gas cards, raffle entries and T-shirts in exchange for voting.
The Nevada Native Vote Project called that account “categorically false” and denied the nonpartisan advocacy group favored Biden.
The judge rejected each allegation that Binnall made.
But he accepted, in a limited way, a testimonial from a Republican national political data analyst, Jesse Kamzol, who Binnall said identified nearly 87,000 improper or illegal votes cast statewide: more than 1,500 dead people; thousands of ballots from “non-Nevadans;” votes from people who didn’t live where they said they did; and more than 42,000 “double-votes.”
Hamilton, the Democratic Party attorney, had urged the judge to reject Kamzol’s credentials as an expert. He said there was no way to know which candidate received allegedly tainted ballots, who allegedly voted twice, what if any dead people voted, or who was accused of casting ballots after moving out of state.
Russell said in his ruling he considered Kamzol's report, but gave it little weight.
The judge gave wide latitude to the Trump camp in a short schedule, accepting written depositions from 15 witnesses while allowing their names to be withheld from the public after Binnall expressed concern about their safety. He also authorized a tour of the Clark County election headquarters and an examination of sealed election materials.
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