Nevada elections official refutes Heller’s claim people can vote twice
LAS VEGAS — Elections officials say Nevada has safeguards in place to prevent people from voting twice in elections, refuting an assertion from former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller that the system makes it possible for voters to cast more than one ballot.
Heller, a Republican who was Nevada’s top elections official while serving as secretary of state from 1995 through 2006, was interviewed Wednesday on Fox Business and criticized a new election law signed by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak that requires sending ballots to all of the state’s active voters ahead of the November election.
The law has been criticized by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, whose reelection campaign filed a lawsuit this week to try to block it.
Heller said that among his concerns was someone casting a vote by mail and then showing up at the polls to cast a ballot. Heller said he asked Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske what would happen if someone voted twice.
“I said, ‘That’s a felony. It has been for decades. What happens then?’ She says ‘Nothing,'” he said.
“We have an attorney general that won’t prosecute it,” Heller went on. “We had a former attorney general that was a Republican that refused to prosecute. So you can vote more than once.”
Cegavske’s office did not respond to questions about her conversation with Heller, but Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said, “Nevada has many protections in place to ensure elections are fair and accurate, including safeguards that ensure no voter is allowed to cast more than one ballot in any given election.”
Voters who are mailed a ballot can only vote in person after they physically surrender their mailed ballot or sign an affirmation under penalty of perjury stating that they have not already voted, Thorley said.
He said Nevada also has an election management system that prevents a ballot from being issued to a voter who has already voted or a ballot from being counted if that voter already voted.
Heller told The Associated Press Wednesday evening that Nevada’s election’s system is “very good” and acknowledged it has cross references to catch someone voting twice. But “the system is not perfect” and “things slip through the cracks,” he said.
Heller did not identify any ways the system would fail to catch someone voting twice or allow a second vote to be counted in election results but said, “even if they get caught, there still won’t be an investigation.”
He said he was aware of instances in the past when names of voters were submitted to the state attorney general’s office alleging the voters tried to cast more than one ballot, but the allegations were never prosecuted.
Asked for more information about the allegations, Heller said he knew of a situation a few years ago when “a dozen names” of voters were sent to the attorney general’s office alleging they tried to vote twice but the allegations did not result in criminal charges.
He said he didn’t have more details and deferred questions to the secretary of state’s office.
Neither that office nor the attorney general’s office responded to inquiries Thursday about whether the offices had received past allegations of people attempting to vote twice that did not result in prosecutions.