Nevada’s secretary of state has refused to lift a ban on manually counting mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 election despite pressure from conservatives over “concerns about the integrity of the election.”
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, last week ordered Nye County election officials to stop counting ballots by hand until polls close on Election Day.
His order came after the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which objected to officials reading individual votes aloud.
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Cegavske had urged county election officials to improve or better explain the procedures involved in their silent manual count counterproposal in a letter Friday.
But the state Supreme Court ruling has made it harder for Nye County officials to review, submit and gain approval for plans, then run them for the hand count.
The ACLU and Nye County attorneys are also embroiled in another vote count controversy after an ACLU observer was removed from the manual count that only lasted two days before Cegavske called him. suspended Thursday.
Questions remain as to why the observer was removed by an election official who was openly carrying a gun.
Lawyers for Nye County claimed the county GOP Central Committee Chairwoman, who was legally armed, acted as a hand count volunteer trained by Acting County Clerk Mark Kampf when she confronted the ACLU Observer.
The GOP chairman allegedly believed the ACLU observer was tallying the vote count, which is a violation of recount rules.
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The ACLU has disputed the charges and the issue is not expected to be resolved until after the Nov. 8 election, making it unlikely that a manual tally could resume before polls close next week.
Cegavske reported a number of issues that concerned her with the silent count proposal.
“There is no provision in your plan outlining the required use of medical-style gloves to further mitigate the risk of cheating or accidental marking, nor a prescribed and standardized pointing device to ensure that any new marks can be quickly identified,” she said.
Cegavske also expressed concern about the attention it would require for each silent meter.
Nye County has adopted a manual counting process following election integrity concerns that stem from conspiracy theories relating to the accuracy of ballot counting machines from the 2020 election.
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County attorneys drafted a letter asking Cegavske to launch an investigation into the hand count after the ACLU accused county election officials of a “coordinated partisan election administration effort.”
The ACLU doubled down on its expressed concerns following the letter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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