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Trump campaign alleges early-voting violations in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump campaign officials on Tuesday alleged "egregious violations" of early-voting rules at four locations in Las Vegas, where Clark County officials acknowledged voters kept casting ballots past posted closing times.

In a complaint filed with the Nevada Secretary of State, and in a lawsuit filed in state court in Las Vegas, the campaign alleged local election officials broke the law by letting people vote for almost two hours at early voting sites, including a Mexican market that was expected to close at 8 p.m. Friday.

The last early ballot was cast at another early voting site at a shopping center in suburban southeast Las Vegas at 10:10 p.m., Clark County officials said.

"We want to be able to identify exactly what happened at those four locations," Brian Hardy, an attorney for the Trump campaign, told a state court judge who rejected his request for an order to impound early voting records from the sites — also including a shopping center in North Las Vegas and a site just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Hardy has in recent days also defended the state Republican Party in a federal lawsuit filed by state Democrats alleging Trump supporters planned to deploy poll-watchers and exit-pollers to intimidate Nevada voters.

Stakes are high in presidential battleground Nevada, where more than half of the state's 1.5 million active registered voters went to the polls early, and where Trump referred to the late closures as evidence the voting is rigged.

Campaign polls have showed Trump and Hillary Clinton in a seesaw battle in the Silver State, where Latinos have registered to vote this year in large numbers. Nevada voters are about 39 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican and about 21 percent nonpartisan. Six electoral votes are at stake.

Hardy asked Clark County District Court Judge Gloria Sturman to order the county registrar of voters, Joseph Gloria, to keep separate the ballots cast at the four locations, and to preserve voting records including the names of poll workers.

The Trump lawyer suggested any votes cast after the posted closing times could be contested as invalid.

The judge responded that Gloria already is required by law to preserve those records, and the secretary of state, Barbara Cegavske, is responsible for investigating the complaint.

Cegavske spokeswoman Gail Anderson confirmed receipt of the Trump complaint, and said it will be investigated.

Sturman also said she was concerned that a court order could make secret votes public by linking voters to ballots, and that making the names of poll workers part of the court record could expose "people who are doing their civic duty ... to public attention, ridicule and harassment."

"If the secretary of state compels Mr. Gloria to provide the information, that is different," the judge said.

Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin welcomed the ruling. He characterized the lawsuit and complaint as a "frivolous attempt to disenfranchise voters in Clark County" and a desperate response to record early-voting turnout.

Democrats had a six-point lead over Republicans in early voting turnout in Nevada, but the GOP hoped for higher Election Day turnout.

County officials said it has long been customary to allow early voting sites to stay open until no one is in line.

"If a line still exists, you can get in that line," Mary-Anne Miller, the attorney representing Gloria and Clark County, told the judge.

Dan Kulin, a county spokesman, said later that rules are stricter on Election Day, when polls statewide close at 7 p.m. and only people in line at that time are allowed to proceed to the ballot box.

"Most, if not all, of our early voting locations had lines of voters when their scheduled closing time passed," Kulin said in an email. "As has been our practice for many, many years, those early voting locations continued processing voters until the lines were gone."