State elections veteran going to position at LCB
April 19, 2012
To candidates filing for statewide office, Kristi Geiser has been the face of the secretary of state’s Elections Division for 15 years.
But this cycle, she has filed her last candidate. She starts a new job Monday with the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s Legal Division. Much of her job description will be very similar to what she has been doing: handling election issues.
During her time with the Elections Division, Geiser has filed hundreds of candidates, from would-be governors and members of Congress to state school board and regents candidates.
Her most embarrassing moment, she said, was the first time she filed Douglas County’s Lynn Hettrick for the Assembly.
“For the affirmation, I asked him to raise his right hand,” she said.
Hettrick, who lost most of his right arm in a farm accident when he was young, doesn’t have a right hand.
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Thankfully, he was gracious and thought it was funny rather than offensive, she said.
“Since then all I say is ‘Raise your hand,'” she said.
She has also been involved in dozens of actions seeking to make candidates follow requirements for reporting campaign expenses. When they don’t meet the deadlines, it is Geiser who sends them the letter ordering compliance.
“I will miss sending my love letters,” she said.
Probably the most prominent offender was former longtime Assemblyman Wendell Williams, D-Las Vegas, who failed to file all three reports one season and would up paying the maximum $5,000 fine for each – a total of $15,000. He is still making small periodic payments on that court-ordered debt.
Among the repeat violators have ritually been members of the Independent American Party. Many of those candidates have objected to the reporting requirements on philosophical grounds. In the most recent election cycles, several of them protested signing the affidavit promising that their reports are complete and accurate, saying they would instead sign an oath under God.
To mollify them, the new forms allow either version but, beneath the oath, it clearly states that legally it’s the same as the affidavit and that violation carries the same potential perjury penalty.
She has been No. 2 in the division, under six different appointed deputies. Those who have worked with her say she is one of the most knowledgeable about Nevada election law in the state.
“I’ll miss it, but I’ve been offered a great opportunity and I can’t turn it down,” she said.
Geiser starts with LCB on Monday.