Las Vegas — Today, All Voting is Local Nevada, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, ACLU of Nevada, and Silver State Voices sent a letter to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, urging her office to prohibit hand-counting ballots as the primary method of counting ballots. The letter comes in response to the notice that the Office of the Secretary of State will hold a workshop on August 12 in order to receive comments from all interested persons regarding establishing requirements for conducting a hand count of ballots. The letter serves as an official comment on behalf of these organizations. 

“These proposed regulations come as a growing number of Nevada counties consider adopting hand-count procedures for all ballots,” the groups wrote. “Their desired departure from mechanical recording devices is being driven by unfounded claims about the unreliability of electronic tabulators currently in use, the devices’ vulnerability to hackers, and conspiracy theories about election fraud during the 2020 presidential election.” 

The comment additionally highlights that hand-counting as a primary method in election procedures when there are large numbers of ballots with multiple contests to count not only fails to meet the minimum accuracy standards set by state law, it also violates Nevada voters’ constitutional right to have their vote accurately counted and their elections fairly resolved. Therefore, due to these inaccuracies and violations, the SOS should issue regulations prohibiting the use of hand counts as the primary method of counting ballots. Worth noting is that the comment also underscores that hand-count procedures are an important tool to verify that voting machine tallies are correct or during recounts.

The letter can be read here.

Background: 

The notice of workshop to solicit comments on the 12th as well as the follow up meeting being held on August 26 come after months of county boards of commissioners across the state have introduced, voted upon, and struck down/passed election resolutions that include hand-counting ballots as the primary ballot-counting method. Nye County was the first to vote upon implementing the hand-counting system.