Who could have seen this coming: Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit in Nevada challenging the state’s early voting procedures and insisting that polling places should have closed earlier. It’s an absurd lawsuit on its face for a several reasons, but based on what Trump’s legal team is demanding of Nevada, it strongly looks as if this lawsuit is intended not to rectify any alleged wrongdoing but rather to sow doubt about the election’s legitimacy.
According to Nevada state law, polling locations must process all voters who are in line by the time the polling station’s closing time. During the state’s early vote, several locations had so many people in line that the locations had to stay “open” past their closing times in order to accommodate them. Again, this is all clearly explicated in Nevada law; it’s standard operating procedure in many states, and generally isn’t considered contentious.
Trump, however, does find it contentious! He and his campaign insist that the Clark County clerk kept the polls open for “two hours beyond the designated closing time” at four locations. In what’s surely a coincidence, the locations Trump named all saw high Hispanic turnout during early voting.
It’s an empty lawsuit that will go nowhere, because Nevada law isn’t at all ambiguous on the matter:
“If at the hour of closing the polls there are any registered voters waiting to vote, the doors of the polling place must be closed after all such voters have been admitted to the polling place,” the statute reads. “Voting must continue until those voters have voted.”
Look closer, however, and the true intent behind this lawsuit becomes clear. Team Trump isn’t asking Clark County to toss the ballots that were cast after the polls’ closing times. It’s simply demanding that those ballots not be “co-mingled or interspersed” (where have I heard that language before?) with the rest of the ballots until the lawsuit reaches its completion.
In other words, this lawsuit gives Trump a reason not to concede on Tuesday night if he loses this election. It’s not a good reason, because it’s not a halfway-plausible lawsuit. But now, if Clinton defeats him, Trump can tell his supporters that there’s a legal challenge to the vote pending and that it would be irresponsible for him to concede before it’s completed. That will be a load of BS, but it's an option he's given himself by filing this lawsuit.
But on its merits, this lawsuit is petty, childish, and very unlikely to succeed. Kind of like the Trump campaign itself.