PAHRUMP, Nevada (AP) — Volunteers in a rural Nevada county where a voting machine conspiracy theory led to an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots were faced with one troubling reality of their plans: it will take time. increase.
After spending six hours at the Nye County Courthouse in Pahrump, 60 miles (96 km) west of Las Vegas, about 60 volunteers counted about 900 of the 1,950 mail-in ballots the county has received so far. rice field.
It was the first time the tally had started today under a state Supreme Court ruling that officials must block the release of early results. The court also blocked plans to live stream the counting of votes, saying the video could only be released after polls close on November 8.
The Nevada American Civil Liberties Union tried unsuccessfully to block the tally on the grounds that election results could be released before many voters cast their ballots, but is ready to ask the state’s superior court to intervene again. press secretary Wesley Yule said. The ACLU alleges the county did not comply with Friday’s order.
“It’s an embarrassing day for our democracy. A historic catastrophe is underway in Nye County,” ACLU Nevada chief Athar Haseebullah said in a statement after watching the first hours of counting. said in
Juhl said armed volunteers took an ACLU observer out of one room and tried to take her notes.
Nye County, an old silver mining area between Las Vegas and Reno, is home to approximately 50,000 residents, including 33,000 registered voters. It is best known for being home to the country’s former nuclear weapons test site.
Nevada is one of the United States’ most-watched Senate elections and a big battle for governor and the office that oversees the election.
The Associated Press witnessed two groups of five in one room casting 50 votes in three hours and nine minutes Wednesday morning.
As one announces the candidate’s name out loud, a validator looks over her shoulder and three tallies mark the paper. A printed instruction sheet on the wall opposite the video camera above the table prompted each name read to “focus, focus.”
Groups observed by AP found a mismatch in the number of eight candidates in the first 30 minutes. The recount took him nearly 40 minutes, but two of the recounts still had different results.
“That will be my new name. It’s a mismatch,” said one of the tallies.
“Today is our first day. Don’t be offended,” the validator replied. “As long as you catch me”
“It will get better.
The secretary of state said Nye County had to split the teams into separate rooms, so anyone observing the numbers of early in-person and mail-in ballots should know the “return totals.” Could not. Participants were not identified for media.
However, in a letter sent Tuesday to the Nevada elections official, the ACLU said that reading a candidate’s name aloud in the ear of a public observer “is a violation of Nevada law by disclosing the election.” It will result in doing so,” he warned.
Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightley said officials were unable to answer questions about the letter because the case had been filed in the state Supreme Court.
Jennifer Russell, a spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Barbara Segavsky, also did not respond to the ACLU’s letter.
After the day’s voting ended, Kamp declared it “a pretty successful day” considering all the workers were new to the job and had only one day of training. . “It was hard because they were learning.”
Observers were required to sign a form stating that they would not publish the results they heard. Anyone who does that can be charged with a serious misdemeanor.
AP was not allowed to film the proceedings.
The concern over protecting aggregates is because the process is highly unusual. Ballots cast early, either in person or by mail, are typically tallied by machine on Election Day, with results announced only after voting has closed. In most places, hand he counts are used after elections on a limited basis to ensure the machine’s tally is accurate.
Nye County Commissioner has been inundated with complaints from residents who have been subjected to nearly two years of conspiracy theories related to voting machines and false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. After voted to perform a hand count of all ballots. .
Trump won 69% of the vote in Nye County, even though President Joe Biden won Nevada with about 33,500 votes.
Nye County wanted to start counting early votes before Election Day rather than risk missing the state’s November 17 certification deadline.
Nye is the most prominent county in the United States, including Nevada, to change its ballot counting process in response to conspiracy theories, even though there was no evidence of widespread fraud or machine manipulation in the 2020 election. The decision led to the resignation of the longtime county clerk.
Kamp describes the county’s Dominion tally machine as a “stoppable” tool in determining how future elections will be tallied. But despite handcounts, machines continue to be the primary recording mechanism for this election.
Jim Marchant, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, said he wants to bring hand counting to every county. In March, he said he would try to get 15 local counties in the state to adopt hand counting, then force “Clark and Washoe” (home of Las Vegas and Reno) to do so.
Merchant repeated unsubstantiated election claims and told the audience that the election was corrupt.
Esmeralda County, Nevada’s least populated county, had a hand count to prove the first results in June. The most populous county in the continental United States that relies solely on hand counting is Owyhee County, Idaho, with Nye County accounting for his one-fifth of registered voters.
Las Vegas AP writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.
Stern is a Corps member of the Associated Press/Reports for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues. Follow Stern on Twitter. @gabester326
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