Our Opinion: Let local elections be local
November 18, 2012
This editorial originally appeared in The Record-Courier:
When the Republican National Committee called on Nevada election officials to recalibrate their electronic voting machines after some allegedly selected the wrong presidential candidate, Secretary of State Ross Miller said it would require a vast conspiracy of Nevada’s disparate election officials to rig the voting machines for a particular candidate.
Yet Miller ordered those same local election officials to withhold results until polls had closed throughout the state.
We don’t believe that anyone standing in line at a polling place in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. will go home because they found out that Mitt Romney won in Humboldt County.
With early and absentee voting there’s little excuse for the polls to be so swamped at the last minute that people are still waiting to cast a ballot an hour after the polls should have closed. But if they are, it’s up to the person in charge of those polls to decide when to close them.
We know that in Douglas County, the clerk-treasurer is elected by the people to safeguard the election. The office is listed in the state constitution and performs a vital function to our republic.
We don’t know the registrar of voters in either Clark or Washoe counties. We’ve no control over what happens with an election in Elko or Eureka.
But we do have the ability to ensure that our own election is accurate and fair, and we do that as we do so many things, at the ballot box.
So if our elected clerk has the authority to conduct an election, he should also have the authority to release results, something the secretary of state has reserved to himself.
We’ve long experience with elections in Douglas County that dates back to the days when ballots were paper and results were posted on a wall, not the Web.
It’s time for the secretary of state to turn the running of local elections back to local officials.