ACLU sues over Nevada county’s hand-counting ballot plan
RENO, Nevada (AP) — The Nevada chapter of the ACLU filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a rural Nevada county and its interim clerk to stop the implementation of the county’s new lawsuit, which was spurred by false claims by election fraud. The process involves counting all paper ballots by hand next to a machine tabulator.
The lawsuit cites three major violations of Nevada’s constitution, state or federal law in its claims.
The province plans to start counting the ballots submitted by hand two weeks earlier election day, a process the ACLU says carries the risk of making early voting results public. The oral announcement of the results of each ballot by hand-counting teams will result in the release of election results and information, which the ACLU says violates state statutes. The group also says that Nevada statute criminalizes the release of early voting information, potentially putting the hand counting team members at risk of a crime.
While Nye County will use touch screens to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, it allows election workers “impermissibly” to ask about a voter’s disability or otherwise reject eligible voters based on “arbitrary decision-making,” according to the lawsuit, which violates the Help Americans Vote Act.
The hand counting plan also uses “strict signature verification,” which allows the clerk to demand an ID card if a voter’s signature fails, which the ACLU says violates state statute. Normally, the clerks have to contact the voter to ask them to confirm whether the signature used for the postal ballot belongs to the voter. Nye County’s personal ballots reflect the ballot entries submitted.
Nye County hand counting is now secondary to machine counting of hand ballots. It was originally supposed to be the main method of vote counting, but was modified, making it possible to avoid state regulations.
Nye County is one of the first nationwide jurisdictions to crack down on election conspiracies over mistrust of voting machines. Nevada’s Least Populous County, Esmeralda, Used Hand Counting to certify June primary resultswhen officials spent more than seven hours counting 317 ballots cast.
Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf said at a recent county commission meeting that the Dominion voting machines are a “stop-gap” measure as the county decides how to handle counts for future elections, possibly without them altogether. machinery.
Kampf did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. In a brief interview Monday, he said he did not share the same concerns as the voting groups about releasing partial results.
“They only get a small part of the result,” he said. “And so no one sees the total result, anywhere.” He added that they were “just a group of ballots separate from all other ballots.”
Discussing touchscreen voting options at a recent meeting of the supervisory board, Kampf said, “we will not turn down anyone who thinks they need that special help.”
Last week, a Carson City judge the motion of a progressive group rejected to stop the Nevada Secretary of State from authorizing hand counts.
Nevada is one of 10 states that allow local polling stations to start drafting ballots before Election Day, but the machines that typically do that are programmed not to release results.
Under the Nye County plan, handcount teams of five will include a reader who announces each result, a verifier who looks over the reader’s shoulder, and three counters who write down the results. The counters then compare their results before submitting them. They count the ballots in batches of 50 in a public place.
Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, not-for-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on classified issues. Follow Stern on Twitter @gabestern326.
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