PAHRUMP, NV, October 28, 2022 — Nevada’s secretary of state told a rural county late Thursday it must halt a first-of-its-kind hand count of mail-in votes after the state Supreme Court warned the current process violates Nevada election law.
Volunteers in rural Nye County had wrapped up a second day of hand-counting the ballots by the time the Supreme Court issued a three-page opinion siding with objections raised by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who is in charge of elections and has been critical of the sort of voter-fraud conspiracy theories that fueled the hand tallying of ballots that began Wednesday, said the “hand-counting process must cease immediately.”
Citing the court’s ruling, she said in a letter to the Nye County clerk that the current hand-count procedure may not resume until after the close of polls on Nov. 8.
Cegavske said “no alternative hand-counting process may proceed” until she and the county can determine if there are any feasible alternatives that would comply with the Supreme Court order.
In its three-page ruling Thursday evening, the high court stopped short of halting the recount. But it sided with the arguments the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada made in an emergency motion filed earlier Thursday.
The ACLU accused Nye County officials of violating a Supreme Court order issued last week requiring the count to be conducted in a way that prevents public release of early results before polls close to in-person voting Nov. 8.
The ACLU argued that reading candidates’ names aloud from ballots within hearing distance of public observers violates the court rule.
Attorneys for Nye County said in a court filing earlier Thursday that the ACLU was engaging in “political stunts and ‘gotcha’ games.” It asked the court to distinguish between observers verbally describing the “vote count” and observers learning the “election results.”
Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said counting was scheduled to continue Friday.
On the first day of counting Wednesday, The Associated Press and other observers, including some from the ACLU, watched as volunteers were sworn in and split into groups in six different rooms at a Nye County office building in Pahrump, 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Las Vegas.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was heard saying that the Democrats was making gain in Nevada in a conversation with President Joe Biden.
Source: AP News wrote the original article.