Bill seeks accountability report on elections | NevadaAppeal.com

Bill seeks accountability report on elections

Sen. Steve Horsford, D-Las Vegas, proposed Thursday the state require county election officials and the secretary of state to prepare a report on every election, detailing a laundry list of problems.

His SB401 originally called for allowing people to register the same day as the election. Faced with stiff opposition to that idea, he asked the Legislative Operations and Elections committee to amend it to establish the Voter Access, Participation and Protection Accountability Report.

He said lawmakers have been relying on assumptions about voter fraud, election day complaints and other issues, and the report is designed to provide them with actual data on all those claims.

“If we are able to get this type of information from our chief election officer, which is the secretary of state, then we will be assured Nevada has a strong voter system,” he said.

The report would collect and analyze information on a wide variety of issues including the number of voters directed to the wrong polling place, numbers of ballots discarded or not counted, number of election day complaints and how they were resolved. It would track reported cases of voter intimidation and suppression, the rate of voting machine malfunctions, numbers of voters challenged at a polling place and whether they were allowed to vote.

In response to problems in Washoe County, it would count and explain how many polling places opened late, count provisional ballots and why they were issued and mail ballot complaints.

It would report voters purged from the rolls and break them down by party and county; list the number of voter fraud cases and convictions in the state; and count ex-felons who had their voting rights restored.

It would report on the performance of the voting equipment and complaints about it and order a periodic audit of election procedures and practices.

The plan received a favorable reaction from the committee.

“I kind of like this,” said Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, agreed, but said he wanted the clerks and secretary of state’s office to make sure there aren’t hidden costs in the plan.

County election officials, including Alan Glover of Carson City and Larry Lomax of Clark County, said they support the idea as well.

“I have no problem at all participating in something like this,” said Lomax. “Quite a bit of the data we already collect.”

Glover too said much of the data is already collected.

“I think it would show what a good job Nevada does running elections,” he told the committee.

But they said the plan needs some tweaking because it asks for some things in the report that aren’t in the voter registration records.

Specifically, Horsford’s plan asked for reporting on such things as names purged from the rolls by gender and race as well as party. Lomax said there is no record of race or gender on the voter registration cards.

Committee Chairwoman Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, asked the clerks and secretary of state’s office to work with Horsford to refine the proposal.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.