Nevada clean-elections group calls on counties to keep voting machines

Nevada clean-elections group calls on counties to keep voting machines
A polling site in Fallon, Nevada on Nov. 3, 2020. Image: Ty O'Neil / This Is Reno

By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.

Good-government groups are calling on county clerks across Nevada to resist calls to dump voting machines for upcoming elections.

A coalition called Let Nevadans Vote just published an open letter to all county commissioners, clerks and managers across the state. It argued attacks on voting machines are unfounded, and moving to hand-counted, all-paper ballots would slow election results to a crawl.

Will Pregman, communications director at Institute for a Progressive Nevada, which is part of the Let Nevadans Vote coalition, said proponents are pushing “the big lie.”

“They think the election was stolen, which has been thoroughly discredited,” Pregman asserted. “And as we saw, those lies culminated in the attack on our Capitol, that was January 6th.”

The idea of a return to manually-counted ballots has received support from several prominent Republicans running in the primary, including Jim Marchant, a candidate for Secretary of State, and Joey Gilbert, who is running for governor.

Washoe County rejected a similar proposal which would also have required voters to present identification to cast a ballot, and stationed law-enforcement officers at polling sites.

Esmeralda and Nye County commissioners recently voted to move to all-paper balloting, but the final decision is now up to their elected county clerks. Last week, Lyon County, which just ordered new voting machines last fall, pulled the matter from commissioners’ agenda at the last minute. And Elko County recently rejected a request to dump their Dominion voting machines.

Pregman sees such debates as potential lightning rods for radicalization.

“County commissioners need to be very careful about entertaining this kind of stuff on their agenda, because we have seen people being threatening or intimidating at these hearings,” Pregman cautioned.

By law, the state cannot get rid of voting machines entirely because they are required as part of accommodations for voters with disabilities.