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Nevada ACLU continues to challenge Nye County hand ballot count

<i>KVVU</i><br/>In Nye County
In Nye County

By Kim Passoth

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    LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — Early voting is well underway across Nevada two weeks until Election Day.

In Nye County, a new process to count ballots will be used this election. That hand counting will start later this week with the ballots that have already come in during early voting, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU) is suing the county over the new election process. FOX5 spoke with Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf Monday, who said the hand counting will start on Wednesday morning, but the ACLU has challenged their proposed process and says they still are looking for clarity about how it will work.

“This isn’t about being partisan. It is about protecting our democracy,” stated Athar Haseebullah, the Executive Director of ACLU of Nevada. Haseebullah says Nye County’s new hand counting of ballots approved by Nye County Commissioners in a 5-0 vote back in March raises serious concerns.

“They had no real processes for how they wanted to do it, it was totally disorganized and chaotic and all fueled by conspiracy theories,” Haseebullah asserted.

The ACLU says it is almost unheard of not to use machines to count ballots and instead rely on people to count them by hand.

“I believe this is the largest county in the country that would have attempted to do this,” Haseebullah revealed.

Esmeralda County in Nevada has done hand counts before but there’s a big difference.

“They have about 300, a little over 300 voters… This has never been done in a county of this size where there are 30,000 voters,” Haseebullah contended.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit questioning some of Nye County’s hand counting process, but a Nye County judge denied that petition. Last week, they moved on to the Nevada Supreme Court.

“On Friday, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a writ ordering Nye to comply with the law with respect to what their process would be when hand counting,” Haseebullah explained.

Hand counting is allowed by Nevada law but there are conditions:

“You can’t release those results in advance of Election Day, you have to wait to Election Day to share election results, there is no ID checks required by any registrar,” Haseebullah cited. The ACLU says they are still waiting to hear exactly how Nye County’s hand counting process will work following the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision in favor of their lawsuit.

Haseebullah told FOX5, “If their intention is to continue with it just the way they were doing, we will be out there because the initial protocol in the process was struck down by the Supreme Court, they said they couldn’t move forward in the way that they wanted to.”

Nye County sent FOX5 this statement after the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision:

“Having reviewed the recent favorable decision from the Nevada Supreme Court, we strongly agree that “[v]oters have a compelling interest in the way elections are run.” And, for that reason Nye County will continue to ensure integrity is integral in the upcoming election and that the processes utilized by Nye County are in compliance with all election laws. Consistent with the Court’s directive and Nevada law, Nye County will be continuing with the lawful hand counting process safeguarding election results, so they are not prematurely released. Further, Nye County is committed to make available to voters all statutorily established methods for proving voter identity when signature verification fails. Simply put, Nye County voters can confidently cast their votes this election cycle.” – Nye County

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