Trump Campaign’s Suit Over New Jersey Ballot Plan Is Tossed
(Bloomberg) -- A judge tossed out a lawsuit brought by President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to block New Jersey’s plan to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters, saying the GOP’s oft-stated fear of a wave of voter fraud was speculative.
A national Democratic group that intervened in the case argued persuasively that the campaign’s claim that unsolicited ballots would lead to rampant illegal voting “are largely conjectural, hypothetical, and lacking in imminence,” U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp ruled Thursday in Trenton.
State election officials have numerous security measures in place to prevent mail-in cheating, including bar codes on each ballot and laws making it a third-degree crime to engage in voter fraud, the judge said.
“Any suggestion of these measures’ imminent failure is also speculative,” wrote the judge, a Barack Obama appointee.
The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the decision.
“We are disappointed with the ruling and are assessing our options,” RNC National Press Secretary Mandi Merritt said in an email.
In its arguments, the Trump campaign pointed to a case of voting fraud that allegedly occurred in a May special election in Paterson, New Jersey, where a candidate for local office was accused of arranging for ballots to be stolen from mailboxes in a scheme to win the vote. Four men were charged, and a judge ordered an election re-do. Republicans also pointed to a recent case of a New Jersey postal worker accused of discarding ballots.
But Shipp said he wasn’t swayed that past “unfortunate instances” of fraud meant it was guaranteed to happen again in November.
“Perhaps it will recur. But perhaps not,” Shipp wrote. “It is difficult -- and ultimately speculative -- to predict future injury from evidence of past injury.”
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