Lander County to consider replacing Dominion voting machines

Lander County to consider replacing Dominion voting machines
A polling site in Fallon, Nevada on Nov. 3, 2020. Image: Ty O'Neil / This Is Reno

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Local officials in rural Nevada are scheduled on Thursday to discuss replacing equipment manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems amid concerns about tampering and fraud that endure in many parts of the United States more than a year after the 2020 election.

Lander County, which has a population of 5,734, is among a group of counties in Nevada that have considered alternatives to the voting machine company, which was the subject of conspiracy theories in the aftermath of the last year’s election, with Trump campaign attorneys suggesting without evidence that it had ties to Venezuela, George Soros and Antifa.

Those claims have been largely debunked. News networks that promulgated them have faced defamation lawsuits. 

Election officials in counties like Lander and Elko that are considering breaking their contracts with Dominion have expressed confidence in the machines and have not discovered proof of significant election fraud or tampering. 

Though Trump won nearly 80% in Lander County, commissioners have considered an Arizona-style voting machine audit and, to allay concerns about tampering, discussed hand-counting ballots in future elections. County Clerk Sadie Sullivan told commissioners that hand-counting may lead to inaccuracies and human error.

Commissioners in Elko County are also considering new voting machines. Republicans say they’re confident in local results but worry about election tampering in other places where Dominion equipment is used and believe replacing them may rebuild public trust.

Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has said the results in Nevada — where President Joe Biden won by 33,596 votes — were accurate and reliable.

In Nevada, electronic voting machines are certified by the federal government and required to run on closed systems to prevent hacking and cyberattacks. Touch screen voting machines are required to print a paper audit, which is then scanned and counted by another machine.

Lander County commissioners scuttled their hand-count proposal and on Thursday will vote on purchasing ES&S equipment, which is federally certified and used throughout the country, including in Carson City. Officials will also interview candidates to replace Sullivan, who is among a growing list of local election officials who have announced plans to leave their posts.