LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Several people attempted to vote twice in last month’s midterm election in Nevada, but not enough to sway any race result, the 8 News Now Investigators first reported Monday.
Voter fraud is a felony and a conviction carries a fine and jail time.
“What did we see in terms of fraud in this election, if any?” 8 News Now Investigator David Charns asked Deputy Secretary of State Mark Wlaschin.
“In every election there are anomalies,” Wlaschin said. “There are things that warrant investigation. The 2022 election cycle was really no different in that regard.”
State investigators have identified people who attempted to vote twice in the November election, whether purposely or on accident, he said. Each case is treated seriously until investigators determine no criminal intent.
For instance, a person may vote early by mail and then attempt to vote via a provisional ballot on Election Day, Wlaschin said. Or, a person may mistakenly vote using another family member’s mail-in ballot, thinking it is theirs.
“Were there individuals in our state who maybe made some bad decisions during the 2022 general election? There were,” Wlaschin said.
State and county security measures identified the attempted double votes, tossing them second attempts from the system. The votes are not counted.
Wlaschin would not identify the exact number of people who tried to defraud the election system, saying the numbers fluctuate based on what the investigators deem as the alleged fraudster’s intent.
“We’re talking small, small numbers,” he said. “To be clear though, and I want to stress this: One illegal fraudulent vote is too many.”
Measures the Nevada Legislature put in place in 2021, alongside the mail-in voting law, scrubbed voter roles of non-eligible and deceased voters.
“Before, during and after an election there are a number of steps we take to ensure that every eligible voter casts one vote that individuals that are not eligible to vote are not able to,” Wlaschin said.
So far, one person has faced charges in connection with the 2020 election. No charges had been filed as of Monday in connection with the 2022 election.
The 8 News Now Investigators first reported Donald “Kirk” Hartle, 56, a registered Republican, was facing two charges relating to the 2020 election. In court last November, Hartle pleaded guilty to one charge of voting more than once in the same election. Hartle had reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison time and to change his plea after a year.
The Hartle case alone took the Secretary of State’s office 240 hours to investigate.
Last November, Judge Carli Kierny fined Hartle $2,000 and ordered him to stay out of trouble. Having completed that requirement as of mid-November of this year, Judge Bita Yeager accepted Hartle’s updated guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to vote more than once in an election.
Rosemarie Hartle, of Las Vegas, died in 2017 at age 52 from breast cancer, Kirk Hartle told the 8 News Now Investigators in an interview in 2020. A ballot for Rosemarie Hartle was issued in October 2020 and later received by the county, but Kirk Hartle said the ballot never came to his house. The 8 News Now Investigators found even though Rosemarie died in 2017, her name appeared on the active voter list.
Rosemarie Hartle’s ballot was one of two cited by Nevada Republicans and national party leaders as evidence of voter fraud in Nevada.
Audits and lawsuits filed in states, including Nevada, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Hartle was the only case the Nevada Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted thus far in relation to the 2020 election.
Nevada’s voting machines do not have a modem and print out a paper record.
While claiming fraud in the 2020 election, Nevada Republican leaders did not make the same claim for the 2022 primary nor last week’s 2022 general election, which followed the same procedures.
In Nevada in 2020, 10 dead voters had ballots cast in their names and 10 people voted twice, the 8 News Now Investigators learned from a secretary of state report, far below initial claims from state and national Republicans alleging nearly 4,000 individual cases of voter fraud.
It can take years for voter fraud allegations and investigators to result in charges. Investigations from the 2020 election are ongoing and the ones for 2022 are just beginning, Wlaschin said.
“We’re simply as thorough and diligent as we possibly can be,” he said. “We want the same thing you want. We want our elections to be secure.”
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is a Republican. Her party censured her for defending the election, which she oversaw. Incoming Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, a Democrat, begins his term in January 2023.