Editorial: Team Trump, Nevada Republican Party, and Adam Laxalt work to suppress votes

"Adam Laxalt" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Spoiled children only play games they expect to win. Why would the Trump Campaign, the Nevada Republican Party, and failed gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt take aim at the state’s mail-in voting system?

The Campaign to Reelect Donald Trump and the Nevada Republican Party filed an open records lawsuit in October that requested the release of Clark County ballot worker names.

Yesterday, Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled that the names of poll workers could be released, but only after the election results have been certified. The names could not be released before the election for reasons of security and possible worker intimidation.

The plaintiffs will reportedly appeal the District Court’s Decision to the Nevada Supreme Court.

In September, a federal judge dismissed a Trump campaign and state GOP lawsuit that challenged the mail-in voting system prompted by the pandemic. In an ongoing stream of emails since then from the Morning in Nevada PAC, Adam Laxalt mounts repeated attacks on the state’s mail-in voting system. Laxalt’s letters parrot Donald Trump and work to delegitimize the accurate counting of ballots as rigged, a direct assault on our democracy.

By appearances, Laxalt is laying the groundwork for a Trump loss and subsequent lawsuit. If his guy is the loser, the results will be illegitimate and likely contested in court. If his guy wins, the system is working just fine.

Here is a taste of Laxalt’s latest screed.

“In their rushed, hyper-partisan special session this Summer, Democrats in Carson City forced through a new mail-in voting system that’s left us wide open to fraud.

“Because of the Democrats’ irresponsible and dangerous decision to mail EVERY voter on the rolls a mail-in ballot — whether that voter intended to vote by mail or not — there are countless, valid mail-in ballots littered across our state, ready to be used by hostile actors who want to influence Nevada’s election results.”

“Hostile actors” stinks of “Deep State” gibberish, Q-Anon, and other paranoid fantasies Team Trump posit in the minds of followers.

Laxalt’s partisan nonsense dangerously and irresponsibly undermines citizen confidence in our system of counting votes, both mail-in and in-person. Despite the whining and lawsuits about a rigged system, 2020 early voting numbers reveal unprecedented levels of voter participation.

Surge of Voters in 2020

Early voting in Washoe County saw a nearly 70 percent voter participation rate. Results are difficult to extrapolate because only a few thousand votes separate Democrats and Republicans and Nonpartisan voters makeup 23.4 percent of early and mail-in voters in the County.

In the 2016 election, according to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters, the voting rate was 72 percent. With Election Day votes yet to be counted, 2020 is poised to be a banner year for voter turnout. But for Donald Trump, Adam Laxalt, and the Nevada Republican Party, results are not to be believed.

And worse, lawsuits and Laxalt letters insult duty-bound clerks across the state of Nevada, from Clark to Elko County who take their jobs with great seriousness. To impugn them as aimless robots double counting votes is shameful and again, a distinct disservice to Nevada voters and our democratic process.

The Future is Hazy

Should Donald Trump lose the election, will this boorish reality TV actor be capable of delivering a concession speech in service to the country?

In reviewing presidential concession speeches going back to Richard Nixon conceding defeat to John Kennedy, every losing candidate graciously congratulated the winner and urged national unity. That includes Hillary Clinton who won the popular vote and lost the election.

Barack Obama welcomed Trump to the Whitehouse and asked Americans for bipartisan cooperation, the peaceful transfer of power.

Al Gore ultimately accepted the Supreme Court ruling that handed the presidency to George W. Bush, despite Gore winning the popular vote.

Like all modern presidents before Trump, regardless of political affiliation, they showed a respect for the Office of US President, their opponents, and our democratic institutions.

Self-serving Trump is incapable of graciousness in victory or defeat.

And the legal antics from the State Republican Party and the Trump Campaign are further examples of Trump working in service to Trump, not the nation.

Taking legal steps to invalidate the votes in Nevada’s most populace and diverse county is an act of voter suppression, pure and simple.

When Trump suggested that medical doctors are over-blowing the novel coronavirus pandemic to make more money, it is a mystery. Why would a seated president say something so uninformed in public when hospitals and the medical industry are challenged by a virus that continues to spread?

No matter what happens, it appears Team Trump, the state Republican Party, and Adam Laxalt are willing to malign and delegitimize a time-honored and secure voting process in service to this embarrassment of a chief executive.

We are thankful for, and have great faith in, the women and men who carefully count our ballots without bias.

We are confident all votes will be fairly counted in a timely fashion, no doubt.

Along with gratitude for dutiful election workers, we are grateful that Adam Laxalt is not, and never will be, Governor of Nevada.