Secretary of State Ross Miller has denied requests from Esmeralda and Nye counties to expand the number of mail ballot only precincts in their counties for the special election to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat set for Sept. 13.
While both counties claimed they would realize modest cost savings by designating more mail ballot only precincts, Miller said his overriding concern is the integrity of the election process.
“This election is already on a greatly expedited timeline,” Miller said. “My first and foremost objective is to conduct an error-free election and I’m concerned that unknown challenges are likely to arise in implementing a new and different process in such short order.”
Legislation passed in the 2011 session allows the secretary of state, at the request of county elections officials, the discretion to designate new mail ballot only precincts that would not otherwise qualify under the older statute.
Miller asked each county last month to provide his office with itemized cost estimates for printing, postage, additional staff time, and other expenses related to mail ballot only precincts. He also asked local elections officials to address any administrative problems or concerns they might anticipate.
Miller said at the time he has confidence in the state’s electronic voting machines.
“And so absent a very good reason to depart from the electronic machines I don’t think we’ll do it in the special election, but we certainly want to explore whether or not there are any cost savings to try to reduce the cost to taxpayers of going to the special election,” he said in an interview last month.