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Voter intimidation lawsuit against Trump and Nevada Republicans unlikely to proceed

Posted: 6:23 PM, Nov 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-04 23:37:10Z

A federal judge seems unlikely to grant an injunction in a lawsuit alleging voter intimidation by the Nevada Republican Party and the Donald Trump’s campaign.

The suit, which is one of several filed across the country by Democrats, alleges that the Trump campaign, the Nevada Republican Party and a group called “Stop the Steal” associated with longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone are engaged in a campaign of voter intimidation, in part due to statements made by Trump about the election being “rigged.”

Although no order or binding instruction was issued Thursday, District Court Judge Richard Boulware said that Trump’s talk of a “rigged election” in general terms as well as a handful of examples of volunteers in Las Vegas giving inappropriate advice wasn’t sufficient for the injunction asked for by the Democrats to be issued.

“It doesn’t seem to me at this point that there is enough evidence,” he said.

Democrats have filed similar cases alleging voter intimidation in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

At issue was the concept of challenging a voter, a legal maneuver that allows voters to “challenge” the eligibility of another voter in their precinct if they have personal knowledge that person is violating election law.

Nevada Democratic Party attorneys alleged that the Trump campaign was insufficiently training their campaign poll-watcher volunteers on that topic, which could lead to voter intimidation.

Jesse Law, a longtime Republican activist and Trump campaign staff member in charge of poll-watching, testified that he’s trained about 100 people to be poll-watchers for the campaign and covered all aspects including voter challenges.

Law also sent an email on Thursday morning before the hearing to all Nevada poll watchers who have signed up to volunteer with the Trump campaign, reminding them specifically of the requirements of voter challenges and potential penalties for filing an incorrect challenge.

Bradley Schrager, an attorney with the state Democrats, said that getting the campaign to reaffirm that it wouldn’t engage in voter interference on Election Day was a victory.

“In response to this lawsuit, the Trump campaign has re-trained its poll workers in order to obey the law,” he said.

Boulware said he’ll issue an order specifically on the Trump campaign and Nevada Republican Party sometime tomorrow afternoon. He’s also set to hear arguments specifically related to the “Stop the Steal” group and Stone on Friday around 3:30 p.m.

The judge also suggested setting up a tentative court time on Election Day in the event that additional claims of voter intimidation are filed, in part due to what Boulware called the “unique and special enthusiasm” displayed by voters this campaign cycle.