Pres. Trump’s campaign sues New Jersey over mail-in voting

Northeast

President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at Yuma International Airport, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Yuma, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TRENTON, N.J. (NewsNation) — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has sued New Jersey, following a decision on Friday by its Democratic governor to mail a ballot to every voter in the state for November’s elections, as well as hold in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Phil Murphy’s announcement came amid criticism from the president on voting by mail, which is expected to increase this fall as many voters seek to avoid polling places during the pandemic.

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey late on Tuesday to invalidate “Executive Order 177.”

The filing was made as a “complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief” and described the step taken by the Democratic governor as “illegal.”

It made two charges – first, that Murphy exercised power that belonged to the state Legislature in changing the state’s election law, and second, that the changes “will violate eligible citizens’ right to vote.”

Trump has said the voting method is susceptible to large-scale fraud, though MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab found that instances of fraud related to voting by mail are rare.

“However, even many scholars who argue that fraud is generally rare agree that fraud with VBM voting seems to be more frequent than with in-person voting,” according to a report by the lab, which has produced and curated election-related research.

For transparency, the MIT Election Data and Science Lab is funded by Democracy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The Joyce Foundation.

New Jersey will use methods similar to what it employed for its primary vote in July, Murphy said last week, with improvements based on lessons learned then.

“We’re going to have more presence of secure drop boxes, make sure there is that physical in-voting capacity,” he had said, referring to in-person voting.

Residents who opt to go to their local polling places on Nov. 3 will do so in “provisional voting,” meaning they must use paper ballots, not voting machines, so that officials can guard against duplicate voting, Murphy said.

Gov. Murphy’s office didn’t immediately respond to NewsNation’s request for comment.

Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party this month also sued Nevada to block a law that will send a mail-in ballot to every voter before November’s election, saying it will result in “inevitable” voter fraud.

Kanishka Singh contributed from Reuters.

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