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Counting Ballots In Nevada Takes Time To Prevent Voter Fraud

A man in a red mask and blue gloves sits in front of a table with a stack of paper ballots on the table and plexiglass in front of him.
Bob Conrad
This Is Reno
Washoe County workers count ballots at the Washoe County Administration Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Nevada's top law enforcement official says the state's decision to release election results methodically is part of an effort to prevent voter fraud. The remarks by Nevada's Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford came the same day officials with President Donald Trump's reelection campaign told reporters they were filing a lawsuit to stop election officials from counting “improper votes.”

According to Trump campaign officials, as many as 3,000 mail-in ballots in Clark County were cast by people who moved out of the state in recent months. However, they did not offer any evidence as proof of voter fraud.

Speaking at a virtual event Thursday, Ford told viewers the state has a process for ensuring every vote is cast legally.

“It’s taking longer, this time to be sure, than normal for us to get those done because many voters have taken advantage of the vote-by-mail process and counting ballots has taken time because we have so many safeguards to prevent fraud,” Ford said.

For mail-in ballots, there is a signature verification process. If an issue is flagged, the county is required to notify the voter within 48 hours. Once notified, voters can mail a signed affidavit or do it electronically, but they must submit a photo of a valid ID. Voters will have until Nov. 12 to do this.

Ford said there’s no evidence of rampant voter fraud and said he would prosecute if it does happen here because he’s done so in the past.

“When I came into this office, I looked at the cases that were pending, and I decided under my own administration to prosecute someone for voting twice in the 2016 election. I prosecute for voter fraud, and we will do so if it's found out that it's happening,” Ford said.

While the actual number of ballots cast in the election is still unknown, Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske issued a statement Thursday saying there could be as many as 190,000 ballots left to count in Nevada.

Gov. Steve Sisolak also released a statement denouncing President Donald Trump’s attacks on the integrity of mail-in ballots being counted after Election Day. He called Trump’s comments, “misleading, dangerous and — most concerningly — false.”

Sisolak added that state officials are required to continue counting the ballots under state law.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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