(Chuck Muth) – When the vote-counting smoke cleared yesterday, our friend and fellow Republican Stavros Anthony ended up 10 votes short in his Clark County Commission race against Democrat Ross Miller – out of over 153,000 cast.
Expect a call for a recount. But there’s a problem. According to NRS 293.404…
“The recount must include a count and inspection of all ballots, including rejected ballots, and must determine whether all ballots are marked as required by law. All ballots must be recounted in the same manner in which the ballots were originally tabulated.”
The key word here is “inspection.”
Rejected ballots will include mail-in ballots in which the signature on the ballot envelope didn’t match the signature on file with the election department. How many were rejected that shouldn’t have been? How many were accepted that shouldn’t have been?
We also know of at least one dead person who has been confirmed to have voted by mail-in ballot and hundreds, if not thousands, of ballots that were cast by people who no longer live in Nevada.
“With Nevada’s transient population,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Thursday, “it is difficult for election officials to keep a clean voter roll of only voters who are active and living in the state.”
Which is another reason that automatically mailing ballots to people who didn’t request them was the height of stupidity – unless, of course, your intent was to cheat and steal an election.
And the reality is, it really wasn’t all that hard to significantly clean up the voter rolls.
According to a report by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) back in August, 93,585 ballots mailed to ACTIVE voters in the June 2020 primary were returned by the post office as “undeliverable.”
Those “undeliverable” primary voters – unless they updated their address with the Election Department – should have been removed from the list of voters who were automatically mailed a ballot by Clark County for the general election.
But they weren’t. That’s malfeasance on a grand scale.
“These numbers show how vote by mail fails,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “New proponents of mail balloting don’t often understand how it actually works.
“States like Oregon and Washington spent many years building their mail voting systems and are notably aggressive with voter list maintenance efforts. Pride in their own systems does not somehow transfer across state lines. Nevada, New York, and others are not and will not be ready for November.”
Indeed, we weren’t.
Rebecca Gill, an associate political science (ugh) professor at UNLV, countered concerns and warnings by telling the RJ “that election officials could have cleaned up the voter rolls but that risked disenfranchising legitimate voters who needed to vote safely during the (coronavirus) pandemic.”
Every legitimate voter who had a concern about voting in person due to COVID-19 could have requested an absentee mail-in ballot – an option Nevada voters have always had. There was simply NO safety reason to automatically mail ballots to people who didn’t ask for them, who no longer live at the address where they’re registered or were…well, dead.
The RJ also reported on Thursday that Clark County election officials “have said that there are legitimate explanations for out-of-state people voting in Nevada if they are military families or students who go to school outside Nevada.”
Fine. But what if they aren’t?
Did more than ten non-Nevadans vote in Stavros’ election illegally? Were any mail-in ballots, many of which never should have been mailed in the first place, intercepted and/or voted by someone else?
The only way to know is if you closely inspect the signatures on the ballot envelopes in a recount to see if questionable ballots were approved by the signature verification machine that had its verification criteria lowered unilaterally by the Registrar of Voters to 40 percent for the general election.
During the counting process the ballots were separated from their return envelopes. So during the inspection process of a possible recount, there’s no way to know which ballots should be rejected for any number of reasons in this totally fouled up election.
“All ballots must be recounted in the same manner in which the ballots were originally tabulated.”
The mail-in ballots were “originally tabulated” by first inspecting and verifying the signatures on the ballot envelope. And since that can no longer be done, there’s no way to conduct a lawful recount.
The only remedy is to hold a new election.
And that goes for a dozen or so other close races in Clark County – including the Senate District 6 race, a State Board of Education race, a University Regent race and two Family Court races that were decided by a margin of less than 1 percent.
And even Question 1 which lost by 1/3 of 1 percent.
In fact, the Clark County Election Department so royally screwed up this entire process on so many fronts that the only remedy to assure the true will of the people and the integrity of the results is to take a mulligan and call for an entire new special election for all 100+ races.
With NO automatic mailing of ballots to everyone on the county’s decidedly unclean voting roll this time around.
So let it be written; so let it be done.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“The Nevada secretary of state is investigating an allegation that a (mail-in) ballot in Rosemarie Hartle’s name and with her signature was voted despite her 2017 death. … Clark County elections officials said they verified that Rosemarie Hartle’s signature matched on the ballot and turned the case over to the secretary of state.” – Las Vegas Review-Journal, 11/12/20