Nevada primary elections put on hold by the federal judge

The primary elections in Nevada were to be held next week and a federal judge has put it on hold until next month to make any decisions regarding the legality of the temporary rules. Any further rulings on the constitutional nature of the mail-in format will not apply until the general election in November.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du rejected a request for the second time that came from the Voters’ Rights Initiative’s. They wanted to issue an injunction blocking the primary based on concerns about potential voter fraud. She previously ruled Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske had legal authority to conduct the June 9 primary predominantly with mail-in ballots to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A Republican, Cegavske, required each of Nevada’s 17 counties to establish at least one polling place for in-person voting. Clark County agreed to provide three in the Las Vegas area after Democrats sued to block the primary based on concerns about voter inequality.

Early voting at in-person polling places closes Friday. Any mail-in ballot postmarked by June 9 will be counted for up to seven days later. “If there are close races, the winner of those races will not be known until sometime after Election Day,” Deputy Secretary of State Wayne Thorley said last week.

The county commission will formally certify the election results within 10 days after June 9. The lawsuit filed by the voting rights group to halt the primary elections could still be used  to force changes in rules for November’s general election.

A Democrat, Attorney General Aaron Ford, filed to dismiss the lawsuit for good. His decision was backed by Democrats and Clark and Washoe counties.

Tuesday was to be the deadline set by the judge for the Voters’ Rights’ Initiative to respond to the motions to dismiss. Late on she agreed that even though she already ruled the primary can proceed it wont be reasonable to make the oppositions comply.

“It is one thing to deny a preliminary injunction, quite another to dismiss a whole case with prejudice as requested,” Du wrote. “Given this circumstance, plaintiffs’ counsel should be given the adequate time they require and request to prepare fully developed arguments in defense of their case.”


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