FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Las Vegas, NV — Citizen election monitors intent on observing the Nevada Presidential election recount in Clark County were instead shown a rehearsed display resembling a recount, according to election watchdog group RecountNow.org.
Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria admitted to election observers present for the public recount that this was the third time the votes had been counted. The first was on election night, the second during an unannounced recount performed prior to the public recount, and the third for the public and the media. “You’d better make sure that you’ve got your act together if you’re gonna be on camera,” Gloria told observers at a meeting on Tuesday, December 6, the final day of the public recount.
Nevada recount law clearly prohibits handling of the ballots in advance of a recount.
“Neither the De La Fuente campaign nor RecountNow was notified of the pre-recount count,” said RecountNow spokesperson Emily Levy, “so there were no observers during the first recount. If there were problems with the election, a transparent public recount could have revealed them. Instead, this behavior raises suspicions. Our observers were only allowed to witness what amounts to a reenactment of the recount.”
The presidential election recount was called for by independent presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente. De La Fuente has stated, “[M]y only interest is to create a nationwide awareness of the vulnerability of our election system and to do everything possible to assure that your vote counts for the candidate for whom it is cast.”
Nevada law requires that a recount be conducted in at least 5% of precincts, selected by the candidate filing for and paying for the recount. Of the 92 precincts designated for recount, 84 were in Clark County. Sixty-eight percent of the state’s votes were cast in Clark County.
Advocates for the integrity of our election systems note that this year’s recount in Clark County was reminiscent of the Presidential recount in Ohio in 2004, after which two election workers were each convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee for rigging the recount in Cuyahoga County to avoid a more thorough review of the election.
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party candidate for President and one of the candidates who filed for the Ohio recount that year, was also the Campaign Manager for Jill Stein’s Green Party candidacy this year. When told of Clark County’s pre-recount count, Cobb stated, “This is outrageous and makes a sham of the recount process. The people have a right to meaningful observation of our elections processes. You might think that having two elections workers convicted in Ohio would be enough to deter similar behavior in other states. There absolutely must be an investigation into whether or not the Clark County election workers manipulated election results or destroyed evidence. All election crimes must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
The closed-door recount was not the only problem noted by recount observers in Clark County. According to Levy, observers reported that boxes of ballots were unsealed when presented for the public recount, calling into question the security of the election. The observers were not able to observe the ballots, as viewing was limited to an observation area separated from the work area by a window.
They were unable to hear to conversations between election officials and workers, and were unable to read labels on ballot boxes. Communications were filtered through the County Clerk. “The public has a right to meaningful observation of the recount process,” said Levy. “In Clark County, that absolutely did not occur.”
RecountNow calls for investigation into possible violations of election law and suggests the State of Nevada refund the fees paid for the recount by the De La Fuente campaign in their entirety, since a lawful recount was apparently not conducted.
RecountNow is a citizens’ group of experienced forensic investigators, IT specialists, statisticians, and data analysts, dedicated to fair, secure, and transparent elections.