Donald Trump suffers court defeats in effort to exclude early votes

Donald Trump suffers court defeats in effort to exclude early votes

Pre-election legal battles play out in Texas and Nevada as Democrats fight to preserve ballots

Donald Trump’s efforts to curtail the impact of early votes suffered a blow after judges in two states rejected lawsuits intended to stop the counting of ballots, a sign that the president’s strategy of using courts to bolster his re-election chances is running into turbulence even before election day.

A federal judge in Texas on Monday dismissed a Republican lawsuit aimed at disqualifying 130,000 ballots cast by “drive-through voting” in Houston, and a Nevada judge dismissed a similar attempt to stop counting early votes in the Las Vegas area.

Both states are seen as battlegrounds, particularly Texas, which has not elected a Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Anti-Trump sentiment and demographic changes have brought Democratic nominee Joe Biden to within striking distance in election-eve Texas opinion polls.

The court rulings were part of some of the most aggressive pre-election manoeuvring in modern American history, and a sign election day itself may become just part of a weeks-long political and legal drama to determine the next president.