Trump and Nevada GOP files lawsuit against Nevada Secretary of State, Clark County registrar, demanding transparency and accountability in November election

Politics

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — President Donald Trump and the Nevada Republican Party filed a lawsuit against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and the Clark County Registrar. The lawsuit claims Gloria is obstructing the public’s statutory right to observe the election process meaningfully.  

The lawsuit was filed in the First Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in Carson City.

The lawsuit states that President Trump and the Nevada GOP are asking the court to order the secretary of state to issue an approved plan for Clark County that assures immediate, meaningful observation and prohibits Clark County from processing and counting ballots until proper procedures are in place to ‘ensure transparency and integrity in all parts of the process.” 

“President Trump has long fought for a free, fair, transparent election,” said Matthew Morgan, Trump 2020 General Counsel. Today he takes that fight to Nevada’s election officials, who would apparently prefer to avoid accountability and hide ballot processing and counting behind closed doors rather than do so transparently, as the law requires. In a voting system that Democrats rammed into place less than 100 days from Election Day, the highest levels of transparency and accountability are necessary to ensure every valid ballot in Nevada counts—once.” 

President Trump meets with students, teachers and administrators about how to safely re-open schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic in the East Room at the White House on July 07. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Transparency is paramount to ensure Nevadans the right to a free and fair election,” said Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald. “Clark County’s refusal to allow people to observe the handling of ballots and their low standards for matching signatures should disturb all voters. It is troubling that those trusted to run our elections are going to have to be compelled by the court to follow state law and protect this election. We join President Trump in his fight for transparency and accountability in Nevada’s election system.” 

Look below at the files to read more about the lawsuit.

Clark County sent the following letter about the lawsuit:

“The letter includes many misleading or inaccurate claims. The Clark County Election Department has gone above and beyond to provide access to observers. While ensuring observers can be at the polling places and other locations as required by law, we have also created additional observation areas so the observers may see even more of our process.

We have met with representatives from both parties to discuss this issue and made some of the changes they have requested, and we will continue to work with them. The letter makes specific claims about the call center room. First, it is worth noting that there are no ballots brought to this room. In the call center, Election Department staff are answering calls from voters who need to cure their ballot. (Curing is the process done when a voter does not sign their return envelope, or the signature does not match what we have on file.)

This means that staff may be discussing personal information, such as birth date and the last four numbers of their social security number, with the voter on the phone. Legally, we must prevent the public from being able to collect that personal information. The letter makes claims about the areas the observers are in. In every situation, we have tried to accommodate observers while protecting voters’ personal information and the confidentiality of their ballots. To protect voter’s privacy there are prohibited areas within the rooms being observed.

The letter refers to cameras in observations areas. First, their request is likely not permitted under NRS 293.274, which broadly prohibits the public from taking photographs or videos in areas where ballots are counted (the media is specifically exempt from this law). Also, it would simply be inappropriate to allow one party to have exclusive control of a camera and any recordings.

The letter makes claims about the processing of mail ballots, specifically how we separate the ballots from the return envelopes. In this process, there are two-person, bi-partisan counting boards that remove ballots from return envelopes in batches (typically 75 at a time). When initially removed, the ballots are within the privacy sleeve provided. Once they have a stack of return envelopes and a stack of ballots inside privacy sleeves, the return envelopes are moved to be kept in a secure location.

Then the board separates the ballots from the privacy sleeves and reviews the ballots for damage. This means that when the ballot is being reviewed, there is no voter-identifying information connected to that ballot. If the ballot is damaged and has to go to the duplication board, it is placed in a separate folder for that purpose. At no time is the envelope with the voter’s name sought or used in this step of the process.

The suit also makes inaccurate claims about the automated system used.

First, using percentages in this context is incorrect. The number, or setting, is a score. There is no manufacturer’s recommended setting. The system is used in many other jurisdictions and there is a wide range in the settings used by others. The setting that we use here in Clark County is 40.

To determine what score to use, we ran tests of the system and concluded that 40 would accept all the signatures that are obvious matches. Signatures that don’t meet that score are reviewed by our manual processes and may be rejected.

The score is determined by a variety of factors. For example, the program will compare the writing style, the slant of the letters, and how someone crosses their t’s as part of determining the score of the signature.

So far, approximately 30 percent of the mail ballot return envelopes have been accepted through this automated process. Meaning, 70 percent of those received have then gone on to the manual verification process.

Nevada Dems sent the following statement:

“This lawsuit from Trump and Republicans is nothing more than an obvious attempt to impede record-breaking momentum in Clark County, the most diverse county in the state. Throughout this election, Trump and Republicans have resorted to baseless attacks to undermine confidence in Nevada’s election integrity. So, it’s no surprise that now, as Democrats hold a significant mail ballot lead in Clark County, Republicans are making one more desperate play.

The demands articulated in the GOP’s lawsuit amount to voter suppression, plain and simple. Like the Trump campaign’s last attempt to interfere with Nevada’s election, this suit is nothing but a sham. Nevadans are tired of the GOP’s bad faith cowardice, and that is why they will remain laser-focused on rejecting Trump for the next eleven days.”

This is not the first time President Trump has sued the state of Nevada. A few months ago, Trump’s campaign sued the State of Nevada a day after Gov. Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill Four, which paved the way for mail-in voting.

WEB_EXTRA__Governor_Steve_Sisolak_0_20190209004951

AB4’s purpose is to ensure Nevadans are protected when they vote in the Nov. 3 General Election during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sisolak touted that it will keep residents safe and from waiting in long poll lines while ensuring their voices are heard. It’s also meant to stave the spread of the virus.

 A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit last month.

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