Trump campaign asks judge to halt early vote count in New Jersey
President Trump’s campaign called on a federal judge to stop the state of New Jersey‘s plans to count mail-in votes prior to Election Day, pending the results of a lawsuit the campaign filed in August.
In a court filing in the lawsuit against New Jersey’s secretary of state, the campaign, the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey GOP also sought blockage of New Jersey’s plan to count ballots without postmarks that are received up to two days after Election Day.
“Congress did not intend voting to continue after Election Day,” the filing said, according to the New Jersey Globe.
The Trump campaign and Republicans sued after Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order calling for ballots to be sent to every registered voter, and for voting to be done mainly through the mail. Anyone who opts for traditional in-person voting would have to submit a provisional ballot, which would not be counted until it is determined that they did not also submit a mailed ballot.
The lawsuit claims that Murphy’s order, which was meant to protect people from the coronavirus pandemic, goes against the state’s trend of re-opening, including allowing schools to resume in-person classes. It also warns that the drastic change in how the state is conducting elections does not provide adequate safeguards against fraud.
The amended complaint, filed last week, points to a local election in Paterson, N.J. earlier this year that resulted in four individuals — including a city council candidate who won their race and a sitting councilman — being charged with fraud-related crimes. A judge ruled in August that a new election must take place in November.
“Confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy,” the campaign’s Wednesday filing said. “Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.