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Washoe County’s top elections official to resign ahead of presidential election

The emblem of Washoe County's government appears on a blue field, which includes the text Registrar of Voters.
Lucia Starbuck

Washoe County Registrar of Voters Jamie Rodriguez is leaving her position.

Officials with the county government announced her resignation in a press release Tuesday, and thanked her for “leaving the office with a strong foundation of expertise.”

In her resignation letter, Rodriguez explained she was leaving to pursue other opportunities outside of elections and to spend more time with her family.

“I believe that great strides have been made in the department over the last year in preparation for the 2024 election cycle,” Rodriguez wrote.

Rodriguez explained she first took over the county’s election administration in early 2022. The previous registrar, Deanna Spikula, was on leave at the time after being threatened by supporters of baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election. Spikula would eventually quit in July 2022.

Most Nevada counties saw elections officials resign following Nov. 2020. President Joe Biden’s electoral victory prompted far-right Republicans to falsely claim the election was marred by vote tampering. Proponents of the so-called Big Lie, which president Donald Trump’s campaign cooked up as part of a scheme to overturn the election, have never been able to provide proof of widespread voter fraud.

In spite of her battlefield promotion, Rodriguez successfully oversaw the contentious 2022 midterm elections. She also managed the transition to a new statewide voter registration database.

In a written statement, Jennifer Willett with All Voting is Local Action praised Rodriguez for her time as registrar. But Willett also cautioned that Rodriguez’ departure left a “void” ahead of the 2024 elections.

“In light of this resignation, we call on the Washoe County Board of Commissioners to appoint a successor with a strong commitment to ensuring ballot access for all Nevadans and protecting our right to vote. We also urge the Board of Commissioners to select a registrar who reflects the diversity of our county and state, particularly those communities who have historically been targeted through racist disenfranchisement and voter suppression,” she wrote.

Deputy registrar Cari Ann Burgess will fill in as Interim Registrar of Voters until county commissioners have their next meeting on Jan. 16.

Bert is KUNR’s senior correspondent. He covers stories that resonate across Nevada and the region, with a focus on environment, political extremism and Indigenous communities.