CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — A proposal making its way through the Nevada Legislature would prohibit a person from creating a false slate of presidential electors and punish them with prison time — and bar them from public office — if they do.
Senate Bill 133, which is not retroactive, would ban a person from drawing up their own slate of electoral votes and sending them to Washington as Nevada Republicans did following the 2020 election.
A person who violates the law could be charged with a felony, which would carry a prison sentence of 4-10 years, documents said. The felon would also be barred from serving in public office.
Democratic State Sen. Skip Daly proposed the bill last week. Nearly every Democratic state senator and assemblyperson has signed on as a co-sponsor. Current Nevada election law does not include any language about false electors as proposed in the bill.
Voters do not vote for presidential candidates themselves but for a slate of electors, mainly political party leaders, who then in turn vote for the preferred candidate. In December 2020, former Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, oversaw the official state ceremony, which certified the state’s six electoral votes for President Joe Biden.
That same day, the Nevada Republican Party’s six electors signed paperwork signaling their support for Trump in a symbolic ceremony devoid of any legal merit.
“I was in disbelief that people would actually try to do those things and go as far as they did,” Daly said Tuesday. “That’s why some of the language says it’s not only illegal to do that it’s illegal to conspire to do that.”
In a statement after the event, Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results.
In addition to Nevada, Republicans in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin also submitted fake documents, the Jan. 6 committee said.
Upon receiving the fake electoral votes from the Nevada GOP, the U.S. Senate Parliamentarian noted the document contained “no seal of the state” and “no evidence votes were delivered by the executive of the state for signature by electors,” the committee’s final report said.
No one involved in the nationwide fake elector scheme has faced any state or federal charge. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith last fall to oversee the department’s investigations into the former president and the lead-up to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.
In January 2022, Democratic Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford told the 8 News Now Investigators that the event was on his office’s “radar,” but no action had been taken as of Tuesday.
“As we have repeatedly stated, we don’t comment on the pendency of state investigations, including whether they exist or not,” a spokesperson for the office said last month. “We still have no comment regarding the matter at hand.
The Jan. 6 committee interviewed both Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and Republican elector Jim DeGraffenreid. Both men invoked their Fifth Amendment rights repeatedly — McDonald more than 200 times. Neither has returned repeated requests for comment.
The committee released text messages between DeGraffenreid and fellow elector Shawn Meehan discussing the Dec. 14 meeting and its aftermath.
“Electors vote a week from today unless a federal court pushes [the] date,” Meehan texted to DeGraffenreid in documents the committee released. “Wish I knew the bigger strategy. Not feeling super confident but trying to trust and be positive.”
A spokesperson for Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo did not say Tuesday if he would support the measure.
“We’ll monitor all bills as they work through the legislative process and engage when we feel necessary,” Elizabeth Ray said in an email.