Election challenges live updates: Nevada GOP asks Justice Department to investigate ballots that could have been cast by nonresidents

A multi-state legal battle launched by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is continuing despite a number of setbacks since the election. The campaign has sued to allow its observers closer to ballot counting in Pennsylvania. A similar suit in Michigan has been dismissed. A suit over late absentee ballots in Georgia has been dismissed. Vote counting continues in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. These battleground states are under intense scrutiny as former Vice President Joe Biden inches closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency. USA TODAY is tracking developments in the legal battle for the election. Keep refreshing this page for updates.

Nevada GOP seeks DOJ probe, blind voter alleges ballot improprieties

The Nevada Republican Party has asked the Department of Justice to investigate its allegation that thousands of nonresidents cast ballots in the state.

“Our lawyers just sent a criminal referral to AG Barr regarding at least 3,062 instances of voter fraud,” the Nevada Republican Party said late Thursday night. The party said the voters “appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from NV.”

The Justice Department is reviewing the request, a Justice official said Friday. The official, who is not authorized to speak publicly, said there is no timetable for completing the review.

The same allegation — without evidence — is also part of a federal lawsuit that makes other claims. The suit, filed against Nevada elections officials, alleges that a Las Vegas resident, 79 years old and blind, showed up to vote and was told she had already cast her ballot by mail. She contends she didn’t.

The Clark County Registrar of Voters told reporters Thursday that he personally helped her, and her signature matches the one on her mailed-in ballot. Registrar Joseph Gloria said she was given an opportunity at the time to provide a statement on her objection but she refused. “A member of the Nevada Secretary of State investigation team also interviewed her, and they have no issue with the assistance we gave her,” Gloria said.

Reporters asked members of the Trump campaign who announced the lawsuit Thursday if they could provide proof of voter fraud. Instead of taking questions, they piled into a van and left.

The suit, filed late Thursday, aims to stop Clark County from using signature verification machines to check votes and require that all mail ballots be hand-checked. 

— Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, and James DeHaven and Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal.

Democrats look for ballot fixes in Nevada

Democrats, meanwhile, are knocking on doors of Nevada voters whose ballots could not be counted because of errors and encouraging them to fix the problems.

As of Friday morning, Biden was leading Trump by a slim margin of roughly 11,400 votes out of 1.2 million counted so far. An estimated 16% of votes had not been tabulated.

Where the counts stand Friday:Biden takes lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia

Riley Sutton told the Reno Gazette Journal he spent the past few days driving from house to house. He has connected with 20% to 30% percent of people on his list, provided by the Biden campaign. In Washoe County, where Reno is located, voters whose ballots have not yet been counted due to an error have until Nov. 12 to straighten it out.

“I’ve got a lot of other things to do,” Sutton said. “But nothing else seems as important as this.”

— Amy Alonzo, Reno Gazette Journal

Federal judge doesn’t stop vote counting in Philadelphia

The Trump campaign has sued in Pennsylvania state court, claiming its observers haven’t been allowed to get close enough to ballot counting in Philadelphia. A trial judge ruled that the Philadelphia County Board of Elections had complied with observation requirements in state law, based on what a witness for the Trump campaign testified.

But a state appeals court overruled that, saying observers could be allowed within 6 feet. The elections board has asked the state Supreme Court to step in, saying that proximity jeopardizes the safety and privacy of the counting.

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke fills out an application for a mail-in ballot before voting at the opening of a satellite election office at Temple University's Liacouras Center.

The Trump campaign filed a motion in federal court Thursday claiming the board of elections was stalling on providing better access for observers while it continued to count. The campaign asked the court to order the elections board not to count ballots unless Republican observers are present.

A federal judge denied that request Thursday evening, urging the two sides to instead forge an agreement.

Trump camp continues baseless claims of cheating

As Biden’s share of votes in key states grew Friday morning, Trump’s campaign continued its attacks on vote counting. Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan baselessly referred to “improperly harvested ballots” in Georgia, “irregularities” in Pennsylvania and “improperly cast” ballots in Nevada.

The allegations, presented without evidence, followed remarks by Trump at the White House Thursday, where he leveled a series of baseless claims against the system of counting presidential ballots and accused Democrats of trying to “steal” the election. He, too, offered no evidence. 

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump claimed at the White House.

No evidence of fraud:We fact-checked President Trump’s speech about the election. Here’s what we found.

Trump prematurely declared victory, even as hundreds of thousands of ballots had yet to be counted. He threatened to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the counting of legally cast absentee ballots.

— Courtney Subramanian and David Jackson

Democrat triggers investigation of Trump campaign’s use of White House

As the president’s team has gathered at the White House gaming out reelection scenarios, an independent federal agency is investigating the use of the White House as a campaign “war room,” according to Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who pushed for an investigation. 

The United States Special Counsel is looking into reports the Trump campaign is operating out of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex. That would violate the Hatch Act, which limits political activities of federal employees, Pascrell said.

The Hatch Act excludes the president and vice president.

According to a statement by Pascrell, Trump campaign officials claimed that all equipment — even the WiFi — was paid for by the campaign with no involvement from White House officials. 

— Anthony Zurita, NorthJersey.com

With Michigan ballots counted, judge dismisses Trump campaign’s lawsuit

A Michigan judge tossed a legal complaint Thursday filed the day before by the Trump campaign, ruling the campaign lacked evidence and legal basis to warrant judicial intervention. 

The Trump campaign had asked a judge to temporarily halt vote counting, arguing a Republican poll watcher was denied sustained “meaningful access” to an absentee ballot counting site in Oakland County.

Like other states, Michigan allows observers from opposing campaigns to monitor vote counting. This is a normal part of the election process, intended to give both parties the opportunity to ensure the law is followed when people vote and ballots are tabulated.

— Dave Boucher and Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

Contributing: Kevin McCoy, Kevin Johnson, Courtney Subramanian and David Jackson, USA TODAY;  Dave Boucher, Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press; Dylan Segelbaum, York Daily Record, Crissa Shoemaker DeBree, Bucks County Courier Times; Will Peebles, Savannah Morning News; The Associated Press

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