Politics & Policy

Voting Issues in Nevada

Last week, Nevada GOP victory committee attorney David O’Mara sent a complaint letter to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office, alleging that there were several instances of voter fraud in Clark and Washoe Counties. The Secretary of State’s office looked into the complaints, and concluded that there was “no evidence of voting machine tampering or voter fraud,” although admitting “the presence of occasional human error in the election process.”

Yesterday, O’Mara sent a letter in response to that report. “We remain concerned … that, for the most part, your investigation did not answer or resolve out questions,” he wrote. Here are four issues O’Mara remains concerned about:

1.      Double voting. The SOS report conceded that one voter had voted twice: once, under a different voter’s name and once under his own, thanks to previous voter’s information still being present on a poll computer. When the man came to poll workers and said his ballot looked wrong (because the first voter had lived in a different locality than the second voter), the poll workers allowed him to vote again. The SOS report said that this man should not been allowed to vote again, but it was clear that no poll worker had intentionally committed voter fraud. O’Mara faults them for not announcing any efforts to prevent this, such as sending out a memo to poll workers about how to avoid this in the future.

2.      Different number of ballots cast than voters signed-in. O’Mara found several instances of a different number of ballots being cast than the voters signed in at polling locations. In one instance, the poll workers were unable to explain why 148 voters were signed in, but only 147 had voted, although they speculated that the person might have signed-in and then opted not to vote after all. The report also stated that not all of O’Mara’s discrepancy examples had been investigated, since the SOS office was trying to get the report out before Election Day. O’Mara said that the SOS report confirms the findings of discrepancy, but does nothing to prevent more such errors, including on Election Day. Saying that double voting “strike[s] at the heart of our democracy,” O’Mara stressed that there should be more safeguards to ensure no such discrepancies occurred. “This happens because of what we call a ‘fleeing voter,’” says Secretary of State Ross Miller. “This is when someone signs in but then does not cast a ballot either because they were called away or did not want to wait. It happens every election.

3.      Poll hours during early voting period. “The polls are not closed during the early voting period. They are considered open for the entire 14 day early voting period,” said the SOS report, before discussing the process in which votes were counted after the polls closed. O’Mara pointed out that Nevada law mandates certain hours that polls may be open during early voting and that Clark County is violating these laws by allowing local election boards to choose to open polling sites earlier or keep them open later than designated times. He also said that he hoped that all mandatory polling hours would be strictly enforced on Election Day.

4.      Access to early voting logs requires a public records request. O’Mara says that while the early voting logs are public records, the time delay that a public records request presents is not acceptable and there ought to be an easier way to access them.

“We have not had a chance to review the concerns, as we just received them yesterday,” says Miller. “We will review them as soon as possible and as our resources allow.”

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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