State of Nevada

Nevada Nye County Hand Counting Challenge

American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada v. Nye County

Petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada in the Nevada Supreme Court challenging Nye County’s “parallel hand-count process,” which entails hand counting all ballots that have already been tabulated with a machine. The petitioner alleges that this process of counting all ballots for a second time violates Nevada law and argues that “because Nye County has begun tabulating votes via machine, either its hand count is an impermissible revision of its existing plan or it is effectively a ‘recount’ or ‘audit’” that does not comply with state law. The petitioner further contends that the county’s plan was not “submitted by the deadline imposed by Nevada statute and approved by the Secretary of State as required by law” and further alleges that the “[r]espondents have moved all ballots and have begun counting them at a location not approved as a central counting place pursuant to a plan submitted to the Secretary of State prior to the April 15, 2022, as required by Nevada law.” The petitioner claims that election “security and integrity” will be “undermined” due to this “last-minute move.” Moreover, the petitioner notes that, under Nevada law, ballots may only be counted a second time under three circumstances: a recount, an audit or a contest. The petitioner asserts that Nye County’s “parallel hand-count process” does not meet the requirements for any of these three circumstances under Nevada law, which only “provides for a second count of ballots after the close of polls on Election Day” and does not permit “a county clerk to conduct a hand count of all ballots on their own initiative.” Notably, this petition comes after the Nevada Secretary of State rejected Nye County’s previous hand count plan on Nov. 4. The petitioner asks the court to issue a writ of mandamus to compel Nye County to “cease” its “parallel hand-count process” and to issue an order declaring said process in violation of Nevada law.

On Nov. 14, the Nevada Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of mandamus, stating that “[i]n their response and accompanying declaration, respondents confirm that the hand count is a secondary counting method and will not be used to report the County’s election results.” Therefore, the court concluded that because Nye County is not using hand counting as its primary counting method, it is not violating Nevada law.

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