UPDATE: On Monday night, the Supreme Court of Nevada declined to issue a ruling to stop Nye County from conducting a hand count of ballots received in last week’s midterm election.

After two successful challenges of Nye County’s unnecessary and error-ridden hand count process before the Nevada Supreme Court, we’re disappointed to see the court allow the Nye County hand-count circus to continue this go around. The disaster that has been Nye County’s hand count has always been a solution in search of a problem, and the voters there deserved better. As this election wraps up, we are looking forward to working with our new Secretary of State and Legislature to make sure our democracy isn’t undermined by conspiracy theorists interested in growing their political power.

Athar Haseebullah, ACLU of Nevada Executive Director

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed another emergency petition Monday to stop the hand-count of ballots in Nye County.

The organization is arguing that the county clerk, Mark Kampf, does not have the legal authority to move forward with the hand count following last week’s midterm election.

The ACLU’s petition said that Nevada law does not permit the county’s “unprecedented, last-minute ‘parallel’ hand-count process.”

All ballots in the county have already been processed by machines, but they are now being hand-counted again, the petition said.

On Oct. 27, one day after counting began, the Secretary of State’s office sent a letter to Nye County stating that it must cease the process immediately after the Nevada Supreme Court said that the hand-counting process was violating orders to not release early voting results.

Less than a week before the midterm elections on Nov. 2, the ACLU demanded an investigation into the hand-counting of ballots, calling the process “coordinated partisan election administration efforts,” according to a news release.

This was after the organization said it discovered that an individual who removed an observer from the ACLU on Oct. 26 is Nye County GOP Central Committee Vice Chair, Laura Larsen. Staff from the ACLU initially believed that she was an employee. 

Nye County officials announced two days after the elections that the hand-counting of ballots would resume, noting that they were under pressure to finish by Nov. 17.

The emergency petition filed Monday argued that basic security measures are not being taken to make sure ballots are not altered during counting and that not enough sufficient processes were in place “to keep volunteers from having access to the individuals counting and reading the ballots.”

“The Nye County Clerk’s insistence on doing a hand count of all ballots that have already been counted by machine tabulators defies best practices in the election security field,” ACLU of Nevada’s Voting Rights Attorney Sadmira Ramic said.

All counties must report their official election results to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office this week.