Introducing Donald Trump at a rally in Reno on Saturday, the chairman of the Nevada Republican party complained to a largely white crowd that voters in another part of the state, with a large Latino population, were allowed to vote late the night before.
“Last night, in Clark County, they kept a poll open till 10 o’clock at night so a certain group could vote,” the chairman, Michael McDonald, said. “The polls are supposed to close at 7.”
What McDonald failed to explain is that some polling places were open later than 7 p.m., and polls routinely stay open late to allow anyone waiting in line when they close to cast their ballots.
"We will not turn people away," Election Dept spox tells me, saying voting places will stay open as long as it takes.— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
cc: Adelson News
Despite these facts, and the chilling sound of a politician casting doubt on the rights of members of an ethnic minority to exercise their right to vote, Trump then claimed that the votes cast in a Clark County polling place in a Mexican supermarket — most likely against him — were evidence of fraud.
“It’s being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring Democratic voters in,” Trump said. “Folks, it’s a rigged system,” Trump added, as the crowd booed.
Just to be clear, both Trump and the Nevada GOP chair have now criticized the decision to allow people more time to VOTE— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) November 6, 2016
The Republican frustration was no doubt fueled by the very large turnout in early voting of the state’s registered Democrats, particularly in Clark County, which is 30 percent Latino. As a country spokesman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Friday was “the largest single-day, early voting turnout” in the county’s history.
According to Jon Ralston, a political reporter for KTNV Las Vegas, the surge in early voting by Democrats suggested that Trump’s chances of carrying the state were very slim.
Images of voters waiting hours to cast ballots at a polling place in a Cardenas Market in Las Vegas suggested that Mexican-Americans had not forgotten that Trump began his campaign by calling their relatives drug dealer and rapists.
Hispanics waiting on line for hours to vote against Donald Trump in the state that could block him from the presidency is just too much.— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
"They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, will stop me from being president."— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
Later at the Trump rally, the candidate was suddenly rushed off stage by the Secret Service after someone in the audience shouted that a protester, who reached for a sign, had a gun.
After the man was attacked by members of the crowd, and dragged from the arena, the Secret Service confirmed that he was not, in fact, armed. The protester, Austyn Crites, told reporters that he had only wanted to hold up a “Republicans Against Trump” sign, and was kicked and choked by Trump supporters before being saved by the police.
Despite the truth of the matter, rumors flew on social media that Trump had survived “an assassination attempt.” One of Trump’s sons and his social media director shared tweets that described the incident that way, and a Lebanese Maronite Catholic priest who spoke before the candidate at a rally in Denver later blamed the media for “an attempt of murder against him” in Reno.