A county election worker scans mail-in ballots as observers watch at a tabulating area at the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas on Nov. 5 (Photo: John Locher/AP, file)
By Ken Ritter Associated Press
Friday, February 19, 2021
LAS VEGAS — Nevada is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed more than a month after the November election that claims voter rolls are rife with ineligible names and that noncitizens cast ballots.
The state attorney general said in a motion filed Thursday that the lawsuit wrongly identifies Nevada's secretary of state as the official in charge of voter registration. The filing also says the Legislature, not the courts, should decide if Nevada should allow voter registration based on Department of Motor Vehicle records.
The lawsuit, filed in December, came after state and federal courts in Nevada and other states rejected election challenges by Donald Trump's presidential campaign, including its claims of widespread voter fraud.
President Joe Biden won Nevada by about 2.4%, or more than 33,000 votes.
The lawsuit doesn't seek to undo the 2020 election. But it cites DMV records of applications for driver authorization cards and claims that nearly 4,000 noncitizens voted.
The plaintiffs — former Assemblyman Al Kramer, former Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick and real estate developer Roger William Norman — allege those ineligible votes "diluted" their legal votes.
The request to dismiss the lawsuit acknowledges there are errors among names on voter rolls but says immigrants rarely vote and criminal prosecutions are difficult. The filing calls any allegations of harm "hypothetical" and compares it with the harm that honest taxpayers suffer when someone evades paying taxes.
Inaccurate voter information "generally consists of the names of deceased persons and the addresses of persons who have moved," the attorney general's motion says. "Here, plaintiffs are focused on non-citizen voter registrants."
The document calls verifying citizenship "a unique challenge."
"Immigrants who conduct business with the DMV have ended up on Nevada's voter rolls," it says. But to prosecute, the state needs to prove the person voted, knew voting was a crime and intended to break the law.
The lawsuit is being handled by attorneys including former Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who was a Trump campaign state co-chairman. He's alleged in other failed legal challenges that voter rolls contained thousands of names of people who were dead, moved out of state or not U.S. citizens.
Laxalt on Friday declined to immediately comment, saying he had not yet seen the document filed in state court in Carson City.
The lawsuit identifies Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske as being in charge of voter registration. But Deputy State Solicitor General Gregory Zunino wrote in the motion to dismiss the case that the role Cegavske plays in maintaining voter records is only "supervisory."
Voter registration applications are screened by comparing information in databases maintained by the Electronic Registration Information Center, the Social Security Administration, the state Office of Vital Statistics and the DMV, the court filing says.
However, clerks in Nevada's 17 counties are responsible for maintaining voter registration and lists of eligible voters, the document says.
Cegavske worked with lawmakers ahead of the 2020 election to establish state laws clearing ineligible names from registration rolls, the court filing says. It urges a judge to reject a bid by the plaintiffs to use the court process "to seize partial control of the Office of Secretary of State."
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