Home>Campaigns>Trump campaign suing N.J. to block Murphy vote-by-mail order, report says

President Donald Trump. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Trump campaign suing N.J. to block Murphy vote-by-mail order, report says

President’s team says executive order violates 14th Amendment

By David Wildstein, August 18 2020 11:03 pm

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is suing Gov. Phil Murphy in a bid to overturn an executive order to requires nearly 6.2 million New Jersey voters to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3 general election.

In an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal, Trump deputy campaign manager Justin Clark claims that the power to change to a predominately all-VBM election rests with the state legislature, and that the executive order violates the right of New Jersey votes to vote under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Mr. Murphy’s order relegates in-person voting—the most secure method—to second-class status by deeming every ballot cast at a polling place ‘provisional,’” Clark said.  “Citizens who want to vote in person face a real threat that their ballots won’t be counted.”

Clark said that the Trump campaign filed their case in federal court on Tuesday evening.

“This brazen power grab was not authorized by state law and violates both the Elections Clause and Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” the lawsuit says.

The Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee are also plaintiffs in the case, court records show.

Phil Murphy has ravaged our constitutional rights, upended our economy and sacrificed the health of our veterans and senior citizens,” said Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt.  “The NJGOP will not let him hijack our right to send his party a message this November, too. We will always fight for free, fair and open elections where every person who is legally entitled to vote can do so.”

State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland) is representing the state party.

“Governor Murphy has exceeded his authority again and again and again this year, and we’ve fought him every step of the way. Now, he’s attempting to blow up decades of established election law, and a system that is working, through an executive order,” Testa said.  “Not only does the election system he’s attempting to implement virtually guarantee some number of votes are lost, miscounted, or double counted, it undermines the faith our citizens have in our elections. The Governor is exceeding his constitutional authority, all in pursuit of a system that is riskier than Russian roulette.

Clark pointed to allegations of voter fraud in Paterson during the May non-partisan municipal election and a large number of rejected ballots, although he incorrectly that race as a primary.

“Democratic convention speakers have been peddling the conspiracy theory that President Trump is working to ‘sabotage’ the U.S. Postal Service,” Clark wrote. “Mr. Trump is working to fix longstanding USPS problems, and the complaints are a distraction from the Democrats’ radical proposal for a universal vote-by-mail system, which the president has rightly said is riddled with chaos and fraud.”

Republican National Chair Ronna McDaniel called Murphy’s order “not only an abuse of power, but a recipe for disaster.”

“In New Jersey’s primary election, dead people voted, a mail truck carrying ballots actually caught fire, countless voters saw their ballots rejected, and the Democrat Attorney General is prosecuting multiple people for fraud, yet Democrats still want to implement a rushed transition to an all mail election,” McDaniel said.  “This decision will sow chaos and risk disenfranchising New Jersey voters.”

Matt Morgan, the Trump campaign’s general counsel, said that “despite constant attacks on our election system, President Trump and the Trump Campaign will continue to defend our democracy.”

“Across the country, the Democrat Party is launching an alarming assault on the safety and security of our elections. In the state of New Jersey, where their universal vote-by-mail system has already resulted in fraud and disenfranchisement, Governor Murphy continues to remove safeguards against abuse,” Morgan said.  “With a stroke of his pen, the governor told his people their votes may not count – they may even be stolen – and that’s fine by him.”

In Paterson, a Superior Court Judge will decide on Wednesday whether he will order a new election in a race where the winner has been charged with voter fraud.

Both candidates – challenger Alex Mendez, who finished the May 12 election 240 votes ahead and was charged a few weeks later, and longtime incumbent William McKoy – have agreed to a special election rather than a protracted legal fight, according to McKoy’s attorney, Scott Salmon.

Mendez is accused of fraud in casting mail-in votes, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public records, and falsifying or tampering with records.  He was also charged with election fraud and false registration.

Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela refused to allow Mendez to take his seat when the city council reorganized on July 1.

Caposela hinted earlier this month that he might be inclined to order a new election, saying that he would likely never be able to determine who won the 3rd Ward council race.

Nearly 900 ballots that appear to have been mailed in bulk from three individual mailboxes, including more than 300 rubber-banded together form a mailbox in neighboring Haledon.


This story was updated at 11:40 PM.

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