WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Sept. 27, a Nevada state court declined to temporarily block guidance on ballot counting that was recently adopted in the state. In August, the Nevada secretary of state issued a temporary regulation that allows county recorders to hand count ballots (as opposed to using an electronic counter) at their discretion; the guidance does not mandate a uniform method of hand counting across counties. Under this temporary regulation, county recorders can now choose to count ballots by hand for a subset of federal or state races or all races if they decide to do so. The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada filed a lawsuit challenging this guidance, arguing that the temporary regulation will create chaos in the tabulation process across Nevada because counties are not required to implement standard hand counting procedures or count ballots in the same way across jurisdictions. Today’s order means that this guidance will remain in place for the 2022 midterm elections.
In the order, the judge wrote that the challenge is “unlikely to succeed on the merits,” stating that “[n]othing in Nevada statute or law prohibits the use of hand counting” and “the right to a uniform, statewide standard for counting votes does not require that cities and counties use only one sole method of counting votes.” Additionally, the judge held that the plaintiffs failed to “show that the Regulation would in fact disenfranchise any voters.” Ultimately, today’s decision means that ballots will not be uniformly counted in Nevada this fall.