(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Secretary of State Ross Miller said today there have been no complaints filed with his office about suspicious voter activity despite email rumors and media accounts that at least some electronic voting machines are pre-programmed to support U.S. Senate candidate Harry Reid, D-NV.
Miller, holding the first of two media briefings on the allegations, urged anyone seeing a violation of election or voting law to file a formal complaint with his office so it can be investigated.
“I know that tensions are running high this election and that emotions are running very strong, but I want to set the record straight,” he said. “This is the entire reason that we have formed the Election Integrity Task Force in 2008. I’m not going to stand for any fraud or intimidation at the polling place, but nor will I stand idly by and listen to rumors and innuendos undermine the integrity of our electoral process.”
Miller said several allegations have been raised as early voting is set to conclude ahead of Election Day on Nov. 2, none of which have been substantiated.
The most shocking allegation came Tuesday from Boulder City resident Joyce Ferrara, who complained to Fox news in Las Vegas that when she went to vote for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, Reid’s name was already checked on the electronic voting machine.
Miller said he first heard of the allegation via a Google alert from Fox news, and subsequently on the Drudge Report. Miller said the voter did not contact his office but went directly to Fox5 News.
Miller said it is “technically impossible” for someone to pre-program software in Nevada’s voting machines because it is not a centralized process. The election is carried out by the 17 county election officials, he said.
While it possible for a voter to inadvertently select a candidate, it is not possible for the machine to automatically select a candidate, Miller said. The electronic voting machine has a verification screen at the end of the process so the voter can see who was selected. Only then is the vote cast, he said.
It is irresponsible and unfortunate that such claims are being made because it undermines the public’s confidence in the electoral process, Miller said.
Other claims in the run-up to Nevada’s election include that voters are being compensated to cast their ballots. The task force has not received any complaint of that occurring and neither has the FBI, Miller said.
The basis of these claims is rumor and innuendo, he said.
“We want the public to come forward,” Miller said. “If someone is compensating somebody by giving a Starbucks card in order to vote for Harry Reid, we want to know about it because that is a violation of state law and a violation of federal law.”
Voters can be given something of value to generally encourage them to vote under Nevada law, he said.
Miller said his office is investigating one formal 44-page complaint filed Tuesday by the Nevada Republican Party regarding differences in the number of votes cast on the machines and the paper voting logs. A secretary of state attorney outside the elections division is doing the investigation.
These differences occur every election cycle and are usually due to common elections procedures, he said. The numbers are always reconciled and all votes that are actually cast are counted, Miller said.
“That said, we’re taking these issues very seriously,” he said.
A final report of the investigation into the issue will be made available to the public.
Washoe County Registrar of Voters Dan Burk said voters have a role in the process as well. If they have a question or concern in the middle of the voting process they need to tell the poll workers right away.
“If they don’t let us know and they go ahead and cast their ballot, there is no way we can assist them,” he said.
Miller said election complaints can be filed on the secretary of state’s website main page in the lower left-hand corner by clicking on the Election Integrity Task Force Badge.