A Nevada judge soundly rejected a lawsuit by the Trump campaign on Tuesday that sought to “sequester” polling records, voting machines, and ballots from four early-voting locations in Las Vegas.
The Trump campaign filed the lawsuit Tuesday against Joe Gloria, the Clark County Registrar of Voters, accusing him of wrongly keeping four polling locations open late for early voting on Friday.
In a filing for the court, the campaign claimed that Gloria’s alleged efforts to keep polling locations open “appear to have been intentionally coordinated with Democratic activists in order to skew the vote unlawfully in favor of Democratic candidates.”
But during a hastily assembled hearing, Clark County District Court Judge Gloria Sturman criticized virtually every aspect of the Trump campaign’s legal arguments, including fundamental procedural flaws like providing notice to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office and exhausting their administrative options before turning to the courts.
“Aren’t we missing like seven steps in the process?” Sturman asked Trump campaign lawyer Brian Hardy.
Sturman also expressed concern that the records could be used to harass and intimidate volunteer poll workers.
“Do you watch Twitter? Do you watch any cable news show?” she asked Hardy. “There are, in the internet vernacular, trolls who could get this information and harass people who just want to help their fellow citizens vote. Why would I order them to make available to you information about people who work at polls when it’s not already a public requirement to do so that those people can be harassed for doing their civic duty?”
Sturman also described the campaign’s request to preserve evidence of how people voted as “offensive,” saying it contradicted “the principle that the vote is secret.” At several points in the hearing, she seemed unable to contain her disbelief at what she was being asked to do.
Polling places throughout Nevada saw extraordinary turnout on the final day of early voting last Friday. In Clark County, the state’s most populous county by far, Nevada Democrats typically use early voting to build a “firewall” before Election Day, when the state’s more conservative voters tend to cast their ballots.
In his liveblog of the state’s early-voting patterns, Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston concluded that Trump and Nevada Republicans would need “a miracle on Election Day” to overcome the likely Democratic lead in ballots.