Donald Trump campaign sues, claiming Nevada county kept polls open too late

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 26: People wait to vote early at the Meadows Mall on October 26, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Voters in Clark County are voting early at a record pace this year ahead of the November 8 general election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 26: People wait to vote early at the Meadows Mall on October 26, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Voters in Clark County are voting early at a record pace this year ahead of the November 8 general election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Credit: Ethan Miller

Credit: Ethan Miller

A Nevada judge denied a request Tuesday to force the Clark County registrar of voters to keep early voting records from four Las Vegas poll sites after the Donald Trump presidential campaign accused the sites of staying open late in violation of state law.

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Judge Gloria Sturman denied a motion filed Monday night by Trump campaign lawyer David Lee on the basis that the campaign failed to exhaust all administrative remedies through the Nevada secretary of state, as required by law.

"The secretary of state is who tells us what she needs to do in any investigation," Sturman said Tuesday at a hearing, adding that the campaign appeared to have "skipped several steps."

Lee argued that the order requested by the Trump campaign was necessary to ensure that records were available to the Nevada secretary of state and the Trump campaign, which is alleging that keeping the polls late violated the integrity of the election as part of a Democrat-led conspiracy.

"The registrar's violations were not random and neutral in their effect, but very much appear to have been intentionally coordinated with Democratic activists in order to skew the vote unlawfully in favor of Democratic candidates," the Trump campaign said in the complaint.

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However, Sturman said, Clark County registrar Joe Gloria is required by statute to keep such records, and the secretary of state has yet to say that she needs any such records to investigate the campaign's complaint.

"You've come to the court to say compel Mr. Gloria to perform his public duty," Sturman said. "You're asking me as the court to say, 'Secretary of state, you're going to need this evidence. I'm going to protect it for you.'"

Still, Lee argued that no statute exists in Nevada to require Garcia to maintain records of poll workers, information that could be necessary in future challenges to the vote. He argued that it would be imperative to know which poll worker told voters that the line was closed at the four polling places in question on Friday and which poll workers, if any, allowed voters to get in line after that announcement was made.

In addition, Sturman said, the request had the potential to publicly identify poll workers and make them targets for harassment.

"Our records are public. They're on the internet," Sturman said. "I'm not going to expose people who are doing their civic duty to help their fellow citizens vote … to public attention ridicule and harassment."

A lawyer for the state argued that the campaign was using rules that apply to Election Day voting to its early voting poll sites.

"On early voting, you don't even have to be in line at a certain time," she said. "If there's a line, you can get in line. It's different than Election Day, and it always has been. We've got it covered."

In a statement posted to its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, the Clark County officials said poll workers followed normal procedure when dealing with long early voting lines.

"Most, if not all, of our early voting locations had lines of voters when their scheduled closing time passed," officials said. "As has been our practice for many, many years, those early voting locations continued processing voters until the lines were gone."

Our statement: Today the judge denied the petition from the Trump campaign, and pointed out that what they were seeking...

Posted by Clark County, Nevada on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

In a tweet, an attorney for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign called the lawsuit "frivolous."