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Why Trump supports mail-in voting in Florida and not in Nevada

The president said mail-voting in Nevada would be a “corrupt disaster” but encouraged Floridians to request ballots by mail.

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President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable discussion on the coronavirus outbreak and storm preparedness at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla., Friday, July 31, 2020.

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The president’s reelection campaign has sued Nevada to stop enforcement of a new state law that expands mail-in voting in this fall’s election.

The suit, filed late Tuesday, comes just hours after President Donald Trump encouraged Floridians to cast their ballot by mail in November. There is a nationwide push to encourage mail-in voting this fall in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

While the lawsuit and the president say Nevada isn’t prepared to conduct mail-in voting on a large scale, Trump’s support for and opposition to mail-in voting also appears to hinge on which state is likely to support him in November. Polls show Trump trailing in both Nevada and Florida, but in the 2018 midterms, Nevadans predominately elected Democratic leaders for the statehouse and U.S. congressional seats, while Floridians doubled-down on their support of the president by electing mostly Republicans.

The new Nevada state law — which is in direct response to the coronavirus — directs Nevada election officials to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters to encourage social distancing during the national disaster, The Nevada Independent reported.

Trump’s campaign sued Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske — who oversees the state’s elections — and has attacked the state law as a massive change in Nevada’s voting process that “makes voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable,” the suit says, according to The Nevada Independent.

Utah State University political scientist Damon Cann said in and interview with the Deseret News this spring that the ideal time to “gear up for a vote-by-mail election is probably about two years.”

Cann, who studies election administration, then hesitantly offered optimism, saying, “We’re finding that we can adapt to a lot of circumstances more quickly than we might have normally thought, in the context of this crisis.”

Trump isn’t so confident.

“Nevada has ZERO infrastructure for Mail-in Voting. It will be a corrupt disaster if not ended by the Courts,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

Nevada does, in fact, have a vote-by-mail system, to include an infrastructure for Nevadans to request permanent absentee balloting, according to Nevada’s secretary of state. In June, responding to pandemic social distancing safety measures, the state conducted its primary election solely using mail-in voting, according to the Nevada Current.

Politically, the state is considered purple — neither red nor blue — but has recently elected two Democratic U.S. senators, and only one the state’s four House representatives is Republican.

In 2018, Nevadans narrowly elected Democrat Steve Sisolak as governor after 20 years of Republican leadership in the state capital.

In recent presidential elections, a majority of voters in the bellwether state cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and former-President Barack Obama twice, but also voted for George W. Bush in the early 2000s in both of his campaigns, according to Ballotpedia.

The president’s speculation of corruption in Nevada’s fall election came less than 24 hours after encouraged all Floridians to “request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!”

The Sunshine State swung for Trump in 2016, but the Republican won the state by less than 2 points. Also a bellwether state, a majority of Floridians have voted for the nationally elected president in every election the past 20 years, according to Ballotpedia.

But in 2018’s midterm, the state fell in line with Republicans, and the president, when it elected Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Senator Rick Scott and a handful of Republicans to the House.

In a recently polling, presumptive Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden continues to hold onto a small lead over Trump in November’s election, according to Rasmussen Reports.