Nevada: Lawsuit seeks to change how public can observe vote counting in Washoe County | Mark Robison/Reno Gazette Journal

A lawsuit to decide just how closely the public can observe the vote-counting process will be heard Wednesday in Washoe County District Court. Robert Beadles is funding the two-pronged effort – one here and one in Clark County – which he says he’s doing to create more transparency in elections. A California transplant who moved to Reno in 2019, he was recently elected to the Washoe County Republican Party central committee. He’s spoken frequently at public meetings about widespread voter fraud in Nevada, despite the Secretary of State’s investigation finding there was no evidence of such fraud in the 2020 general election. “This isn’t one of those things where it’s Republican or Democrat,” Beadles said in a phone call with the RGJ. “It’s literally for every single legal voter and so that anybody who wants to make sure their vote is counted legitimately can be a part of the process. There’s just too much secrecy when you look into how our election system actually works.” Attorneys for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada filed documents opposing the efforts, saying they would “upend Nevada’s election administration just a few weeks before the primary election, on a legal theory that was uniformly rejected by Nevada courts prior to the 2020 election and has no basis in Nevada law.”

Full Article: Election security: Suit seeks changes in vote counting observation

Nevada: Nye County’s planned switch to hand-counted paper ballots for general election raises alarms | Michael Lyle/Nevada Current

Nye County is poised to appoint a new county clerk in August and pave the way for hand-counting paper ballots in the 2022 general election, a move election watchers worry could create a logistical nightmare that could spill over to a congressional race and even statewide elections. Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant helped convince Nye commissioners to make the switch, even as Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino decried a hand-counting method as prone to error. Marchant blamed his defeat for the 2020 race in fourth congressional district, an area that includes Nye, Esmeralda and Lincoln counties, on unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. Kristopher Dahir, a Republican running against Marchant in the 2022 primary for secretary of state, criticized Marchant for creating “chaos” adding that it “almost seems like they want an insurrection instead of an election.” “I don’t believe he lost because of fraud. I think he lost because he lost,” Dahir said. “I think when it comes to what we are doing now, I think he’s doing it to try to get elected. He’s doing this to show, ‘I’m the fighter, I’m the guy.’ I don’t believe we tear this place apart to try to fix something.”

Full Article: Nye’s planned switch to hand-counted paper ballots for general election raises alarms – Nevada Current

Nevada Voter ID, mail voting rollback ballot questions likely dead after court rulings | Riley Snyder and Michelle Rindels/The Nevada Independent

A pair of Carson City judges struck what appeared to be fatal blows to proposed GOP-backed voting initiatives on Monday, invalidating efforts to roll back the Democrat-backed universal vote by mail law passed in 2021 and a measure implementing voter identification requirements. In separate rulings, Senior Judge Frances Doherty blocked the effort to file a referendum against AB321, the measure passed by lawmakers in 2021 to permanently implement universal mail-in ballot. In a separate case, Senior Judge William Maddox ruled that the voter ID initiative’s description of effect — a 200-word summary — was argumentative and ordered a new description be written, effectively scrapping all signatures collected at this point. “On both proposed initiatives, the courts agreed with us that the descriptions provided to potential Nevada voters were deceptive and inaccurate, and could not go forward,” Wolf Rifkin attorney Bradley Schrager, who represented the plantiffs, said in a statement. “In both instances, people with agendas undermining confidence in our elections were found to be misleading the voters about their ballot measures. Today the justice system made clear that such tactics are not tolerable.” Both measures were sponsored by Repair the Vote, a political action committee led by former Nevada Republican Club President David Gibbs. In a brief interview Monday, Gibbs said there was virtually no chance of getting the signatures needed to qualify the measures for the ballot  by a deadline in the next few weeks.

Full Article: Voter ID, mail voting rollback ballot questions likely dead after court rulings – The Nevada Independent

Editorial: Big Lie pushes rural Nevada to make their elections slow, expensive and error-prone | Sheila Leslie/Reno Gazette Journal

As a 45-year Nevadan by choice, I’ve spent many happy days in our rural areas, working in human services and recreating in the gorgeous remote basin and range lands around Table Mountain, Mt. Jefferson and the Twin Rivers area of the Arc Dome Wilderness. I’ve worked with ranchers in frontier Eastern Nevada to fight various iterations of the Las Vegas water grab which threatened their land and livelihoods. I’ve helped small communities set up family resource centers to support their residents, financed with lots of local ingenuity and pride, and I’ve helped rural judges access resources for defendants living with a severe mental illness while simultaneously reducing their jail populations. Over these decades, I always found local officials and community leaders to be generous with their time and creative with their solutions. Even as an urban-based Nevadan from a much more liberal political perspective, I found plenty of common ground and genuine respect for different points of view. That’s why it’s been so incredibly disheartening to see the vast majority of rural Nevadans refuse to believe their own eyes when they saw violent insurrectionists invade the U.S. Capitol. It’s been hard to see them continually vote for climate change deniers even as they suffer from megadroughts and wildfires. And it’s been painful to watch our rural neighbors succumb to the lies and nonsense of Trumpism, buying into wild conspiracy theories that make no sense.

Full Article: Big Lie pushes rural Nevada to make their elections slow, expensive and error-prone

Nevada: Esmeralda is latest rural county to try ditching electronic voting machines, move to hand counting | Sean Golonka/The Nevada Independent

Esmeralda County commissioners voted Wednesday to ask their county clerk to administer all future county elections using strictly paper ballots and hand-counting, the latest rural Nevada county to attempt to overhaul election administration in response to conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. The vote marks the second major shift away from electronic voting machines in rural Nevada, after Nye County commissioners made a similar request in March. Nye and Esmeralda counties could soon be joined by two more rural jurisdictions, Elko and Lyon, whose commissioners are set to discuss alternatives to electronic voting machines later this week. In tiny Esmeralda County, where there are a little more than 600 registered voters (more than half of whom are Republicans), county commissioners sided with Republican candidate for secretary of state and 2020 election denier Jim Marchant, who pitched the idea for the switch to paper ballots during the meeting on Wednesday. But LaCinda Elgan, Esmeralda County clerk and treasurer, pushed back on the presentation. She said the county’s voting machines have not been connected to the internet, and pointed to the litany of tests and security measures in place to ensure that votes are counted and recorded accurately. Elgan added that some voters in the county want to vote using an electronic voting machine. As in Nye County, the decision to move forward with the changes to election administration has been left up to Elgan, because the county clerk is elected and not appointed, meaning jurisdictional issues prevent the county commission from ordering the clerk’s office to take a specific course of action.

Full Article: Esmeralda is latest rural county to try ditching electronic voting machines, move to hand counting – The Nevada Independent

Nevada counties to hear election proposals spurred by false election fraud claims | Michael Lyle/Nevada Current

At least four more Nevada counties are considering changes to the voting process with three proposing to switch to hand-counting paper ballots, a move borne from unsubstantiated claims about widespread election fraud. Lyon, Lincoln, Elko and Esmeralda county commissions have all scheduled to hear proposals at upcoming meetings next week. “Enough is enough,” said Holly Welborn, the policy director for the ACLU of Nevada, which threatened to sue Washoe County for its recent proposed voting resolutions. “This is a targeted attempt to undermine and threaten our election officials, to undermine democracy in the state of Nevada and the rest of the country, and to get the electorate to not trust election officials who are hard-working people who are following the law,” she said. The office of Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske reviewed the 2020 General Election after alleged “election integrity issues” and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Full Article: Four Nevada counties to hear election proposals spurred by false election fraud claims – Nevada Current

Nevada: Transition to state-led, top-down voter database delayed, expected later than 2024 | Sean Golonka/The Nevada Independent

State election officials plan to submit a bill asking lawmakers for two more years to implement a new state-led voter registration system, as transitioning away from the current county-led system by a January 2024 deadline appears unlikely. Earlier this month, Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Mark Wlaschin told legislators on an interim elections committee that his office is still aiming to meet the 2024 deadline established by AB422, but he expects the project to be finished closer to 2026. Wlaschin said their goal was “to not do it quickly, but to do it properly,” pointing to recent technical issues that state election officials faced in Washington and West Virginia when moving to new statewide voter registration databases. A 2017 report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission identified Nevada as one of just six states with a bottom-up voter registration system, in which individual counties maintain their own voter lists and transmit that data to the state on a daily basis. But a top-down, centralized system, in which the state manages a voter registration database and transmits that data to local jurisdictions, is generally meant to improve the efficiency and uniformity of voter roll maintenance. Local election officials also expect the system to help with same-day voter registration.

Full Article: Transition to state-led, top-down voter database delayed, expected later than 2024 – The Nevada Independent

Nevada election officials say they’re prepared as shortages stoke paper ballot worries | Jessica Hill/Las Vegas Sun News

Christy McCormick, vice chair of U.S. Election Assistance Commission, is hearing a similar message from officials who run elections nationwide: Supply shortages could bring delays as they order the paper and envelopes needed for upcoming primary and midterm elections. The dilemma is the result of the global supply chain issues coupled with an increase in demand for paper brought on by the pandemic, leaving ballot vendors worried about not getting their supply in time for the elections. “We are very concerned about this issue,” McCormick last month said during a U.S. House Administration Committee roundtable discussion with paper companies and election clerks to discuss how the paper shortage could affect elections. Lawmakers in Nevada, which has more than 1.7 million registered voters, passed a law last year directing election officials to send every registered voter a mail-in ballot, unless they choose to opt out. Some counties, such as Nye, are also pushing for 100% paper ballot elections. Both processes will require election officials to increase their paper supply to print ballots. The Nevada secretary of state’s office has known about the shortage for months and has reached out to county officials to make sure they were aware of the issue and recommended that they confirm with their ballot suppliers that they will get their supply in time.

Full Article: Nevada election officials say they’re prepared as shortages stoke paper ballot worries – Las Vegas Sun News

Nevada: Commissioner ‘not giving up’ on efforts to switch Washoe County to paper ballots | Mark Robison/Reno Gazette Journal

Jeanne Herman is not done trying to switch Washoe County’s election process to paper ballots – but she faces an uphill battle with continued opposition from fellow commissioners. This week, the Washoe County commissioner representing District 5’s mostly rural areas submitted a single-item resolution. It was a much simpler effort than her controversial 20-item election-overhaul proposal that was rejected in a 4-to-1 vote March 22 at a board meeting featuring seven hours of contentious public comment. “It appeared that it was too complicated for them to handle the original resolution,” she told the RGJ in a phone call about the four commissioners who voted against her plan: Chair Vaughn Hartung, Kitty Jung, Bob Lucey and Alexis Hill. “They weren’t able to discern how to do it or discern whether they had any appetite to do it so I thought, ‘OK, let’s start with first grade. Let’s do one at a time.’” The new lone proposal focuses on paper ballots. That was one of the previous resolution’s items, along with hand-counted results and a beefed-up law enforcement presence at voting sites.

Full Article: Jeanne Herman still wants to switch Washoe County to paper ballots

Nevada county rejects hand counted paper ballots, sheriffs at vote sites | Scott Sonner/Associated Press

An election reform package has been rejected in northern Nevada with the help of critics that included a lawyer involved in one of the most famous recounts in state history. Alex Flangas, a lawyer in Washoe County for 37 years, told the commission Tuesday hand-counting of ballots has long been widely recognized as the worst way to ensure accurate results. After seven hours of passionate public comment on both sides, the Washoe County Commission voted 4-1 to defeat a resolution that would have posted sheriff’s deputies at all polling places and required most ballots to be cast with paper ballots counted by hand. The push for hand-counting ballots came amid mistrust of elections among many Republicans who believe the false narrative that widespread fraud cost former President Donald Trump reelection in the 2020 presidential contest. The National Republican Senatorial Committee hired Flangas in 1998 to represent GOP Rep. John Ensign’s campaign in a legal battle seeking a recount of his 401-vote loss to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid that year. Flangas disclosed to commissioners that he pushed for hand-counting of ballots in 1998 because he knew it was prone to error and would make the results easier to challenge in court. “I fought for and obtained a hand-recount of the ballots in Washoe County and let me tell you why: because we knew — and everybody knew — that it would produce more error,” Flangas said.

Full Article: Nevada county rejects paper ballots, sheriffs at vote sites | National News |

Nevada: Nye County clerk: No time to eliminate electronic balloting | Jessica Hill/Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

The Nye County Commission last week asked the county clerk to consider using only paper ballots in the upcoming primary and general election, part of a larger push from Republican lawmakers to eliminate electronic balloting machines and tallies. But Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino said it would be impossible for her to implement changes for the June 14 primary. The biggest issue, Merlino said, is that there are no rules and regulations in place, and it would be difficult to get staffing ready. “There’s so many things to consider and right now not enough time to put it in place,” Merlino said. Clerks start preparing for the primary in January, Merlino said, so they’re already halfway through the process. “To stop in the middle and try to purchase all the ballot boxes we need and hire an additional 100 people, it’s about impossible to do with the time we have,” Merlino said. Commissioners do not have the authority to tell her how to conduct the elections, she said, but she is considering whether or not it can be done for the general election in November. She is working with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office to come up with an analysis for how it could work, how much it will cost, what kind of equipment they would need and how transportation of the ballots would work. What’s happening in Nye County is a reflection of what Republican lawmakers are trying to do across the state and country. And if the clerk of a county with about 38,500 registered voters is expressing her doubts, how will a county like Clark, which has 1.5 million registered voters, see this implemented?

Full Article: Nye County clerk: No time to eliminate electronic balloting – Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

Nevada: Officials in Nye County endorse hand count, paper ballots | Ken Ritter/Associated Press

Elected officials in a rural southern Nevada county say they want paper votes counted by hand during primary and general elections this year, although their top elections official said Wednesday she can’t immediately commit enough staffing or supplies and doesn’t have regulations to follow. “It would be physically impossible for me to implement this for the (June 14) primary election,” Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino told The Associated Press following the all-Republican County Commission’s unanimous Tuesday vote endorsing the measures. “I have made a commitment to look at it.” Merlino, an elected official who has had her job since 2000, has authority to accept or reject the recommendation from the five-member commission. It followed presentations from several speakers on unproven conspiracies and doubts about the results of the 2020 election, according to media reports. Commissioner Debra Strickland called for the vote, saying she wanted to reassure county voters that their voice is heard and their ballots are accurately recorded, the Nevada Independent reported.

Full Article: Officials in Nevada county endorse hand count, paper ballots | AP News

Nevada: Nye County commissioners considering all paper elections, hand-counting ballots | Sean Golonka and Jacob Solis/The Nevada Independent

On Tuesday, Nye County commissioners will discuss a proposal to have the 2022 primary and general elections use only paper ballots and count those ballots by hand — the latest response by a rural Nevada county to greatly overhaul election administration in response to unproven conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Republican Commissioner Debra Strickland’s request for the agenda item points to “concerns about the integrity of the voting process” raised by many Nye County citizens and states that it “will help reassure voters that their voice is heard, and their votes are accurately recorded.” In November 2020, nearly 70 percent of Nye County voters cast their ballots for Donald Trump for President, a significantly larger percentage than the share of voters registered as Republicans in the county that month (48 percent). Strickland told The Nevada Independent in an interview Monday that the proposal would eliminate the use of the county’s Dominion Voting Systems electronic machines during the elections, if accepted by Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino. The position of Nye County clerk is elected and not appointed, meaning jurisdictional issues prevent the county commission from ordering the clerk’s office to take a specific course of action. If Merlino accepts the request, her office would be responsible for hand-counting thousands of ballots in June and November this year — a time-consuming and costly process often mired by human error but that has gained widespread attention and support amid false narratives about the security of electronic vote tabulators.

Full Article: Nye commissioners considering all paper elections, hand-counting ballots – The Nevada Independent

Nevada lawmakers split on regulations enshrining switch to mostly mail election | Sean Golonka and Jacob Solis/The Nevada Independent

Lawmakers on the Legislative Commission approved most, but not all, of more than two dozen largely technical election regulations Monday that had drawn staunch opposition from state Republicans. During the meeting, Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Mark Wlaschin told the commission that the regulations — including what some may consider controversial changes amid the election integrity policy climate — were clarifying laws that already existed, including some major changes passed last year. Approval came ahead of a Feb. 28 deadline for those regulatory changes to be in place for the 2022 primaries in June. The commission, a panel of legislators charged with giving final approval to proposed regulations from state agencies, is composed of six Republican and six Democratic lawmakers, which allows for partisan disagreements to sink certain regulations — such as the college student vaccine mandate, which failed to pass in December. A majority of the election regulations — 18 of 30 — were approved without further discussion, and another four were approved unanimously after concerns raised by commission members were addressed by Wlaschin. But not every regulation made it through the process unscathed. Two were held up after the commission deadlocked on votes, with Democrats in support and Republicans in opposition.

Full Article: Lawmakers split on regulations enshrining switch to mostly mail election – The Nevada Independent

Nevada: National Guard, ‘stealth paper ballots’ proposed for Washoe County elections | Mark Robison/Reno Gazette Journal

Commissioner Jeanne Herman is proposing big changes in the way elections are handled in Washoe County — including ensuring the Nevada National Guard is present at every polling location as soon as the 2022 primary — in an effort to preserve the “purity” of voting in Nevada’s second-largest county. All 20 measures in Herman’s resolution, dated Feb. 16, came from suggestions made during 4½ hours of public comment at a recent county commission meeting attended by more than 350 people, she said. “The people need to have a voice to be heard and be satisfied that we have looked at the situation with care and are living up to our job as commissioners,” Herman told the RGJ Friday morning. The resolution will be discussed by the commission at its Tuesday, Feb. 22, meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. Go here to view the agenda; the resolution is listed as item No. 14.

Full Article: National Guard, ‘stealth paper ballots’ proposed for Washoe elections

Nevada lawmakers approve another $2.2 million to improve mostly mail elections | Riley Snyder/The Nevada Independent

Nevada legislators have approved spending another $2.2 million to facilitate Nevada’s switch to a largely vote-by-mail state ahead of the 2022 election, pushing the total cost north of $14 million. The funding request, passed unanimously by members of the Interim Finance Committee on Wednesday, comes from the secretary of state’s office and was described by Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Mark Wlaschin as the list of necessities to successfully implement new mail voting requirements for the 2022 election. “There were certainly some nice-to-haves that we had discussed that may come further on down the line, but this request, specifically, [are] the essentials for the 2022 election cycle based on input from all 17 of the counties,” he said during the meeting. The additional funding comes on top of $12.2 million already allocated by lawmakers last year as part of AB321, the bill implementing the move to permanent, expanded mail voting. Under the law, which was opposed by all legislative Republicans, every active registered voter will be sent a mail ballot before a primary or general election. Inactive voters, who are legally registered to vote but don’t have a current address on file with election officials, will not be sent a mail ballot.

Full Article: Lawmakers approve another $2.2 million to improve mostly mail elections – The Nevada Independent

Nevada: Election official departures rising amid burnout, angry voters, new requirements | Sean Golonka/The Nevada Independent

More Nevadans than ever made their voices heard in the 2020 election, spurred by intense interest in the presidential race and helped by law changes that vastly expanded paths to register and multiplied voting options that led hundreds of thousands of Nevadans to vote by mail, while many more opted to vote in person. But the changes — and burdens — for the backend infrastructure and workforce that runs Nevada’s elections was far greater. Election clerks, registrars and the secretary of state’s office were forced to simultaneously run in-person and mail-in elections, while facing pushback from a vocal contingent of voters frustrated by public health precautions and widespread misinformation. For years, state and local election officials largely went about their business out of the spotlight, but in the weeks and months following the 2020 election — as lies and conspiracies proliferated — they faced increasing hostility and attempts to undermine their work. The rise in violent threats has sparked a national exodus of election workers. Dozens of local election officials in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have left their positions in the past 14 months. In Nevada, similar changes are happening. By the 2024 election, new faces will make up more than a third of Nevada’s 17 top county election officials.

Full Article: Election official departures rising amid burnout, angry voters, new requirements – The Nevada Independent

Nevada county where Trump won to replace voting machines | Sam Metz/Associated Press

Local officials in rural Nevada decided on Thursday to replace equipment manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems — a sign that unsubstantiated concerns about election machine tampering are still prevalent more than a year after the 2020 election. In Lander County, population 5,734, commissioners approved $223,000 in spending for new ES&S voting machines and $69,000 for maintenance, installation and training. ES&S equipment is federally certified and used throughout the country, including in Carson City. The equipment will replace Dominion’s suite of voting equipment, which was the subject of conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the 2020 election, with Trump campaign attorneys suggesting without evidence that the company’s equipment had ties to Venezuela, George Soros and Antifa. Those claims have been largely debunked. News networks that promulgated them have faced defamation lawsuits. But Lander County residents continued to claim that Dominion’s equipment swayed the election results in comments to the commission over the past several months. The commissioners decided to replace Dominion equipment after outgoing County Clerk Sadie Sullivan, who oversees local elections, told them in October that the company had been a reliable partner. They said their scrutiny of Dominion machines wasn’t because they thought Lander’s elections was victim to foul play, but because they weren’t sure about the machines elsewhere.

Full Article: Nevada county where Trump won to replace voting machines | AP News

Nevada: Lander County to consider replacing Dominion voting machines | Associated Press

Local officials in rural Nevada are scheduled on Thursday to discuss replacing equipment manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems amid concerns about tampering and fraud that endure in many parts of the United States more than a year after the 2020 election. Lander County, which has a population of 5,734, is among a group of counties in Nevada that have considered alternatives to the voting machine company, which was the subject of conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the last year’s election, with Trump campaign attorneys suggesting without evidence that it had ties to Venezuela, George Soros and Antifa. Those claims have been largely debunked. News networks that promulgated them have faced defamation lawsuits. Election officials in counties like Lander and Elko that are considering breaking their contracts with Dominion have expressed confidence in the machines and have not discovered proof of significant election fraud or tampering. Though Trump won nearly 80% in Lander County, commissioners have considered an Arizona-style voting machine audit and, to allay concerns about tampering, discussed hand-counting ballots in future elections. County Clerk Sadie Sullivan told commissioners that hand-counting may lead to inaccuracies and human error.

Full Article: Lander County to consider replacing Dominion voting machines | AP News

Nevada: Elko County to consider alternatives to Dominion voting machines | Timothy Burmeister/Elko Daily

Elko County Clerk Kris Jakeman said Wednesday that she is happy with the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county has been using, but she will investigate possible alternatives in response to a request from the Elko County commissioners. Lee Hoffman, chairman of the Elko County Republican Party, was at Wednesday’s county commission meeting to ask the county to look into replacing the Dominion machines. He read a resolution approved by the Elko County Republican Party. “Whereas there is evidence of vote count tampering in places where Dominion voting machines have been used, especially in metropolitan areas in swing states,” the resolution says, “the Elko County Republican Party … strongly urges the Elko County Board of Commissioners and the Elko County Clerk to investigate alternatives to the Dominion voting machines currently in use in Elko County and to cancel the contract with Dominion if necessary …” The resolution also says the Elko County Republican Party “recognizes that implementation of alternatives would have associated costs, but asserts that election integrity is worth finding the necessary funding …” Hoffman said this request does not question the quality of the elections in Elko County.

Full Article: County to consider alternatives to Dominion voting machines | Local |

Nevada Republican Kirk Hartle, who claimed someone stole his late wife’s ballot, charged with voter fraud | Amy B Wang/The Washington Post

Donald Kirk Hartle looked troubled last November. It was a few days after Election Day and the Las Vegas man was telling a local news station that someone had stolen his late wife’s mail-in ballot and returned it to Clark County election officials, according to Nevada’s online ballot tracker. “That is pretty sickening to me, to be honest with you,” Hartle said in an interview then with KLAS 8 News Now. “It was, uh, disbelief. It just — it made no sense to me.” Hartle noted that his late wife, Rosemarie, had died in 2017, but remained on the voter rolls. The signature on the returned ballot had matched what election officials had on file for Rosemarie, KLAS 8 News Now reported at the time, leaving Hartle to wonder “who took advantage of his grief” and how had they pulled it off? Nearly a year later, there appears to be an answer. On Thursday, the Nevada attorney general’s office announced it had filed two charges of voter fraud against Hartle, alleging that he forged his late wife’s name to vote with her ballot. Both charges — one for voting using the name of another person and another for voting more than once in the same election — are category D felonies that each can carry a prison sentence of up to four years, along with a fine of up to $5,000. “Voter fraud is rare, but when it happens it undercuts trust in our election system and will not be tolerated by my office,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, said in a statement. “I want to stress that our office will pursue any credible allegations of voter fraud and will work to bring any offenders to justice.”

Full Article: Nevada Republican Kirk Hartle, who claimed someone stole his late wife’s ballot, charged with voter fraud – The Washington Post

Nevada: Federal, state election officials stymie rural Lander County commissioners’ proposed 2020 election audit | Sean Golonka/The Nevada Independent

State election officials and the Department of Justice intervened last week to thwart an attempt by Lander County commissioners to audit the county’s electronic voting machines, which hold physical voting records from the 2020 general election. The county’s election official is required under federal law to retain and preserve those records for 22 months after the election. At the same time, county commissioners are also considering converting to entirely paper elections — largely viewed as more time-consuming and error-prone — by restricting use of all electronic machines in the election process. In August — more than nine months after the 2020 general election — Lander County Manager Bert Ramos requested to the county clerk (at the direction of the county commission) that all of the county’s 26 electronic voting machines be transferred from the clerk’s office into the custody of the county manager’s office. In an interview with The Nevada Independent, Lander County Clerk Sadie Sullivan confirmed that the commissioners intended to conduct a post-election audit of the machines in order to determine whether they had been tampered with or if they had been connected to the internet (the machines run on a closed system and are certified by the federal government to not rely on internet connectivity). Sullivan also said the county hired a legal team to examine the machines.

Full Article: Federal, state election officials stymie rural Lander County commissioners’ proposed 2020 election audit – The Nevada Independent

Nevada governor signs bill permanently expanding mail-in voting to all registered voters | Joseph Choi/The Hill

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Wednesday signed a new bill that expands mail-in voting to all registered voters, requiring local election officials to send out mail ballots before a primary or general election. “At a time when State legislatures across the country are attempting to roll back access to the polls, I am so proud that Nevada continues to push forward with proven strategies that make voting more accessible and secure,” Sisolak said in a press release. “Nevada has always been widely recognized as a leader in election administration and with this legislation, we will continue to build on that legacy.” This legislation expanding voter access comes as several GOP-controlled state legislatures have moved to tighten voter restrictions following the presidential election. The 2020 race saw record turnout as the pandemic required social distancing and states relied heavily on early and mail-in voting for Americans to cast their ballots. Lawmakers in 14 states, the majority of which have Republican legislatures and governors, have passed 22 bills to tighten voting restrictions, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. The year’s tally of legislation like this is expected to grow. Among the restrictions, states like Iowa and Montana have passed legislation to reduce the hours of polling places. Others have scaled back early voting hours, and sought to limit ballot dropbox usage.

Full Article: Nevada governor signs bill permanently expanding mail-in voting to all registered voters | TheHill

Nevada Secretary of state opens up about threats she received after no evidence of ‘widespread’ voter fraud found | Jannelle Calderon/Nevada Independent

Republican Secretary of State  opened up Wednesday about her experience on the job after the November presidential election sparked allegations of voter fraud in Nevada, as well as about threatening emails and phone calls she and her family and staff received. Cegavske’s appearance at the Hispanics in Politics monthly meeting in Las Vegas marked a rare public appearance by the secretary of state after the contentious election season in which she pushed back on allegations that there was widespread voter fraud. She told The Nevada Independent in an interview after her speech that the extent of the threats was “saddening” and was not something she wanted her staff to go through. She also said the level of threats, harassment and privacy concerns led her to unplug the phone landline in her home. When asked if she had been changed by the experience, Cegavske said the level of threats to family and staff, the involvement of national news and cyber security has taken a toll. The secretary of state also said that the fallout goes beyond threats. One website in particular (which The Nevada Independent is not naming for safety concerns) has targeted her along with other U.S. election officials through doxing, which is publishing otherwise private information with malicious intent. The website has been removed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation three times, Cegavske said.

Full Article: Secretary of state opens up about threats she received after no evidence of ‘widespread’ voter fraud found

Nevada lawmakers pass bill that would make it first presidential primary state | Mychael Schnell/The Hill

The Nevada state Senate passed a bill on Monday that calls for making the state the first to hold a presidential primary in the 2024 election. The Nevada Senate passed the bill in a 15-6 vote, after the state House cleared the legislation five days earlier, 30 to 11. It now heads to Gov. Steve Sisolak‘s (D) desk. If signed into law, it would switch Nevada’s contest from a caucus to a primary and move the state up in the nation’s election calendar, passing the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary for the first slot. Proponents of the bill are arguing that Nevada would be a better state to cast ballots first because of its diversity and population that reflects the demographics of the nation, instead of Iowa and New Hampshire, which are overwhelmingly white. The bill, however, will have to garner the support of national political parties to officially shake up the 2024 voting calendar, The Associated Press reported. The legislature’s consideration of the bill comes as a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign, spearheaded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada), jockeys support for moving the state’s contest up in the calendar.

Full Article: Nevada lawmakers pass bill that would make it first presidential primary state | TheHill

Nevada bill for permanent mail-in voting advances in Legislature | John Sadler/Las Vegas Sun

Extensive election reform bills supported by Nevada Democrats passed out of their second committee Tuesday night, inching forward as the end of the legislative session looms large. Bills that would make Nevada the first presidential primary in the country, make permanent many of the voting changes put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and make changes to the state’s voter registration system were passed out of the money-focused Assembly Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday. Lawmakers spent the majority of the hearing debating the cost of the measures. Assembly Bill 321, which would automatically send mail-in ballots to active, registered voters in Nevada, received the most debate over cost. Fiscal notes from the secretary of state’s office claimed the bill would cost $5.7 million more each fiscal year, a number that bill sponsor and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, took umbrage with. The total cost for the 2020 election, including expanded mail-in voting was $3.9 million, Frierson said. “When we open up these issues, I think there’s a tendency for folks to look for the ideal and say, ‘Well, since we’re opening up anyway, let’s find an ideal way to do all of this,’ which is not always necessary or practical,” Frierson said.

Full Article: Nevada bill for permanent mail-in voting advances in Legislature – Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

Nevada: Upon even further review, claims of widespread voter fraud still false | Las Vegas Sun

The Nevada state Republican Party’s lie about massive voter fraud in last year’s presidential election is officially dead and buried. It lies beneath a mountain of proof revealed in a review headed by one of the party’s own leaders, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. In so doing, Cegavske reminded Nevadans that some members of the state’s GOP still have integrity, despite loathsome evidence to the contrary by important figures in the party. Honorable Republicans should rally around Cegavske. You’ll be able to spot the corrupt members of the party easily because they’ll be the ones attacking her. This past week, Cegavske announced that her office had completed its review and had found no evidence of the GOP’s allegations that tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots had been cast in the state. The autopsy revealed in detail what most Nevadans had expected all along — that the narrative about fraud was a toxic stew of mistruths and wild exaggerations. Or, as Deputy Secretary for Elections Mark Wlaschin wrote in a letter about the findings, the fable was “based largely upon an incomplete assessment of voter registration records and lack of information concerning the processes by which these records are compiled and maintained.” The outcome of the review wasn’t surprising, given that the GOP had lost legal cases stemming from its false claims in Nevada and in courts across the country. But it reveals just how outrageously and irresponsibly the Republican leadership acted in making the claim.

Full Article: Upon even further review, claims of widespread voter fraud still false – Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

Nevada secretary of state finds no ‘evidentiary support’ for GOP election fraud claims | Stephanie Becker and Paul LeBlanc/CNN

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske‘s office told the state Republican Party on Wednesday that an investigation had found no “evidentiary support” for its allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. “And while the NVGOP raises policy concerns about the integrity of mail-in voting, automatic voter registration, and same-day voter registration, these concerns do not amount to evidentiary support for the contention that the 2020 general election was plagued by widespread voter fraud,” said the letter, addressed to the Nevada Republican Party. Cegavske, the only statewide Republican office holder, said in the letter that elections staff had inventoried and labeled four boxes of materials that had been delivered to the state Capitol on March 4 — and then to her office — and had investigated the accompanying allegations of voter fraud. Of the 122,918 records to support the accompanying allegations filed by members of the Nevada GOP, Cegavske’s office narrowed down the list of unique “Election Integrity Violation Reports” to 3,963, some of which were already under investigation. An accompanying report fleshed out why many of the complaints were unsubstantiated.

Full Article: Nevada secretary of state finds no ‘evidentiary support’ for GOP election fraud claims – CNNPolitics

Nevada finds far fewer election complaints than GOP claimed | Rory Appleton/Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Nevada secretary of state’s office announced Tuesday it had sorted through several boxes allegedly containing about 123,000 unique voter complaints, collected by the Nevada Republican Party after the 2020 general election, but found fewer than 4,000 actual alleged election integrity violations. “While initial reports claimed that there were 122,918 unique voter complaints contained within the four boxes, a detailed review concluded that there was a total of 3,963 Elections Integrity Violation Reports, all filed by the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party — a number of which are already under investigation by law enforcement,” the office said in a news release. The office said it spent more than 40 hours labeling and evaluating the documents provided by state Republicans “to ensure a systematic assessment of the election complaints contained within.” “During the coming weeks, the staff will conduct a detailed examination of these reports,” the office said. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, the state’s lone Republican executive, was a frequent target of Republicans as they sought to reverse various 2020 election results up and down the ballot. She has maintained there was no evidence of widespread fraud in Nevada’s most recent election.

Full Article: Nevada finds far fewer election complaints than GOP claimed | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada: State proposes new system to potentially speed up voter verification during elections | Jannelle Calderon/Nevada Independent

The secretary of state’s office wants to transition from a county-led to a state-led top-down voter registration system that could speed up the time-consuming process of verifying that people who take advantage of a new same-day voter registration law haven’t already voted in the same election. The elections division has requested from the Legislature $1.5 million to start the process, although officials say the new system likely won’t be up and running for a few years – possibly even after the 2024 election. The agency’s push for a new top-down approach began about a year before the 2020 election, but it became evident after the November election just how inefficient the current bottom-up system can be. Nevada was the subject of jokes nationally because it took several days to count and clear tens of thousands of provisional ballots (those set aside to allow for verification of a voters’ eligibility), making it difficult to quickly project the winner of the presidential race. Currently, each of the state’s 17 counties control and maintain their own voter registration databases, while the secretary of state’s office maintains yet another voter registration database consisting of all records compiled from each of the counties and updated daily. Details of the budget request were publicly discussed during a joint budget hearing last month. A top-down voter registration system would provide a centralized statewide database and election management system with real-time voter information. Election officials say it would make fixing errors, checking for duplicate registrations and verifying voter eligibility faster and “seamless.”

Full Article: State proposes new system to potentially speed up voter verification during elections