The president has accused the Nevada state legislature of performing a “coup” by authorizing a massive expansion to mail-in voting. On Twitter, Donald Trump wrote “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 bill in question, Assembly Bill 4, solidifies Nevada as joining the ranks of Washington, Oregon and Colorado in proactively sending out ballots to registered voters. The move has been derided by President Trump, who has consistently claimed that mail-in voting is vulnerable to voter fraud. However, there is no evidence to back the president’s claim.
Nevada’s legislature passed the bill late Sunday to address problems that arose during their June primaries. The state saw surprisingly long lines at their severely reduced number of polling places. The legislature feared that there would be too few polling places to deal with voter turnout in November. As the president lambasted the move, others excoriated Trump for his statements.
Some on Twitter accused Trump of trying to undermine the democratic process. Others claimed that Trump was trying to depress voter turnout to increase his chances of winning. In either case, Nevada’s actions are not illegal on either a state or federal level. Mail-in voting, also called absentee voting, is legal, and has been common in the United States for decades.
Arguments over the bill in among Nevada lawmakers were intense and heated. Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro gave a speech on the state senate floor Sunday. “We should be doing everything we can to allow people to vote and vote safely,” the Senate Majority Leader stated. “This bill is absolutely not an opportunity to create fraud in our elections, our to allow for ballot harvesting.
“If it was a good enough process for the primary, it should be a good enough process for the general.”
Republicans have called for the bill to be blocked, claiming that it will lead to widespread fraud and ballot harvesting. However, there is no evidence to back the claims that mail-in voting is any more prone to fraud than in-person voting. Moreover, lawmakers in Nevada recently passed a bill that allows the governor to decide how polling is conducted during a time of emergency. This means it’s unlikely that the bill will be stopped before the November 3 date of Election Day.