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Federal judge dismisses Trump campaign challenge to New Jersey mail-in voting expansion
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Federal judge dismisses Trump campaign challenge to New Jersey mail-in voting expansion

The US District Court for the District of New Jersey Thursday dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit challenging newly passed mail-in voting provisions from the New Jersey Legislature.

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey Legislature enacted Assembly Bill No. 4475, which expanded the state’s mail-in voting initiatives. The Trump campaign challenged this legislation, stating that “New Jersey’s rushed shift to universal vote-by-mail elections facilitates fraudulent and invalid votes.” More specifically, the campaign argues that the legislation will allow individuals to cast votes after Election Day and such votes will be counted and is contrary to the federal Election Day statutes because “canvassing before Election Day creates a risk that New Jersey’s election results will be disclosed to other states and potentially influence the outcome of other states’ elections.”

Judge Michael Shipp took an opposing view, stating that the fraud that the plaintiffs allege is speculative, “despite alleged past experiences with voter fraud in New Jersey.” Besides, the plaintiffs lack standing to bring their claims because they only make general allegations about how A4475 causes injury to them. Instead, the plaintiffs assert that A4475 will “hypothetically confuse voters, undermine confidence in the electoral process, and create incentives to remain away from the polls.”

Judge Shipp further stated:

With respect to vote dilution, Plaintiff’s arguments rest on their highly speculative fear that once State officials mail ballots to its voters and members there will be scores of ballots that can be improperly and unlawfully repurposed for a particular candidate. Moreover, Plaintiffs’ vote dilution claims rest on assumptions about the machinations of third-parties intent on committing election fraud. But these concerns are based solely on a chain of unknown events that may never come to pass. This Court will not abandon its usual reluctance to endorse standing theories that rest on speculating about decisions of independent actors.

The Trump campaign has not yet announced if they plan to appeal this decision. The decision aligns with several other recent blows to the Trump administration’s attempts to limit mail-in voting in the 2020 election.