Lawmakers in Nevada have agreed to send ballots to all voters in the western U.S. state for November’s presidential election, a move that drew an immediate rebuke from President Donald Trump as unfair to Republicans.
The legislation, which is expected to be signed by Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, would make Nevada the eighth state to automatically send mail-in ballots to make it easier to vote and avoid long lines at polling places on Nov. 3 in the midst of the continuing surge of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Trump has contended, without evidence, that increased mail-in voting, in Nevada and elsewhere, will lead to widespread election fraud and an election rigged against him.
The president threatened to sue to block the change in the voting regimen in Nevada, where he lost by 27,000 votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Polling shows the state leaning toward the presumptive Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, over Trump in the election three months from now.
Nevada has six electoral votes of the 270 needed to win the presidency in the Electoral College, the country’s indirect system of democratic national elections in which the state-by-state outcomes determine who wins a four-year term in the White House.
In a Twitter comment, Trump said, “In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state. Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”
The Nevada State Democratic Party tweeted its response: “Once again, Donald Trump is admitting that expanding access to the ballot box will hurt Republicans' chances of winning.”
Trump himself voted by mail in the Florida Republican primary held in March.
When asked about the matter at a Monday afternoon press briefing and whether he would consider issuing an executive order to address his concerns, the president said: “Well, I have the right to do it. We haven't gotten there yet, but we'll see what happens.”
In previous years, five of the 50 states, including Republican-dominated Utah, have conducted mail-in votes with few allegations of fraud. Two Democratic states, California and Vermont, moved this year to adopt mail-in voting, but Trump has launched a lengthy string of verbal attacks on states that have revised restrictions to make it easier to vote in the midst of the pandemic.
More than voter fraud, the country could be facing an issue regarding counting on Election Day, Nov. 3, with most Americans accustomed to learning who won the presidency the same day they cast ballots.
The counting of mail-in ballots in states that have held political party primary elections in recent months has extended for weeks in some contests, possibly presaging difficulties throughout the country in the presidential election. Two elections in New York that were held in late June have yet to be decided because of the slow count of mailed-in ballots.