The Nevada Supreme Court building Monday, March 4, 2019.
Photo: David Calvert / The Nevada Independent
RENO — The Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed an emergency petition to the state Supreme Court on Monday challenging Nye County and its interim clerk's plan to count election votes by both hand and machine, a method crafted by elected officials and candidates acting on false claims of election fraud.
The complaint is nearly identical to the ACLU lawsuit that was recently dismissed in Nye County District Court due to technicalities. The district judge there did not receive a record of the publicly available county commission meeting referenced in the petition from the ACLU. She said it was unreasonable for the court to go through a 7.5-hour meeting, among other issues.
The ACLU asked the court to rule by Friday, five days before Nye County officials plan to start early hand-counting of mail-in ballots and one day before early in-person voting starts statewide.
Officials did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment on the new lawsuit.
The ACLU said the plan to start counting mail-in ballots two weeks before Election Day risks public release of early voting results. It alleges that county officials' method of using a touch-screen tabulator for people with “special needs” illegally allows election workers to ask about a voter's disability or turn away otherwise eligible voters based on “arbitrary decision making,” and that Nye County's wording of “special needs” is ambiguous.
The organization also argues that the county's “stringent signature verification,” which allows the clerk to require an ID card if a voter's signature fails, violates state statute.
Nye County is one of the first jurisdictions nationwide to act on election conspiracies related to mistrust in voting machines. Nevada's least populous county, Esmeralda, used hand-counting to certify June's primary results, when officials spent more than seven hours counting 317 ballots cast.
After the ACLU filed its original petition, a spokesperson for Nye County said in a news release that the county would mount a “vigorous legal defense that clarifies the misleading allegations and disposes of the legal action as swiftly as possible.”