President Donald Trump threatened legal action Monday after Nevada’s Legislature passed a bill to mail ballots to all active voters, suggesting the measure would make it impossible for Republicans to win there in November’s general election.
“In an illegal late night coup, Nevada’s clubhouse Governor made it impossible for Republicans to win the state,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Post Office could never handle the Traffic of Mail-In Votes without preparation. Using Covid to steal the state. See you in Court!”
The president’s social media post came after Nevada state lawmakers approved legislation on Sunday to automatically send mail-in ballots to voters. Nevada Gov. Stephen Sisolak, a Democrat, is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Trump has aggressively advocated for in-person voting in recent months even as state-level election officials move expand mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, which many fear could be easily spread at polling places.
The president argued in April that mail-in voting “doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” and has repeatedly claimed the ballot-casting practice results in widespread incidents of voter fraud.
But Republican political operatives have embraced vote-by-mail, and a recent study found that it does not benefit one party over another.
Despite the president’s insistence to the contrary, cases of election fraud in the U.S. are exceedingly rare. Experts acknowledge there are some slightly higher fraud risks associated with mail-in balloting, but only when proper security measures are not put in place.
Trump proposed last Thursday the United States delay its general election, currently scheduled to take place in less than 100 days, citing his unsubstantiated complaints about mail-in voting.
He has also attacked states such as Michigan that have moved to mail out absentee ballot request forms, not the ballots themselves.
Although Trump has criticized mail-in ballots, he has deemed absentee ballots to be “fine” because “a person has to go through a process to get and use them.” Voting rights experts, however, say there is no difference between mail-in voting and absentee voting.
Should Sisolak sign the Legislature’s mail-in voting bill, Nevada will join seven other states that have already adopted automatic mail ballot policies.
Five of those states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — regularly mail every voter a ballot, while California and Vermont, along with the District of Columbia, have announced their intention to do so in this election because of the pandemic.
An analysis last month of voting in three states that send ballots during every election cycle found that officials identified an infinitesimal amount of potentially fraudulent ballots.
House Democrats passed a bill in May that would mandate all voters be sent a ballot in case of emergency, along with other sweeping changes to the American electoral system. That legislation is largely opposed by Senate Republicans and is unlikely to become law.