GOP leader sees pro-Democratic bias in proposed election rules


CARSON CITY -- A Clark County Republican leader and other residents complained Monday that proposed election regulations by Secretary of State Ross Miller are intended to help Democrats win elections for the next 50 years.

"We might as well invite the Chinese over here," said Woody Stroupe, vice chairman of the Clark County Republican Party. "You can't vote in your country, but you can vote in our state."

Stroupe said that Miller, a Democrat, is "very, very biased" against Republicans and that the regulations would keep Nevada blue for the next half century.

His comments led to cheers and clapping from about 30 people attending a workshop on the proposed regulations that was teleconferenced to Las Vegas.

But Deputy Secretary of State Scott Gilles told the crowd that some of the proposals they criticized would be removed before the regulations are approved at a Dec. 23 meeting.

Gilles also said an item removing a requirement for absentee voters to sign an oath of their identity mistakenly was placed in the proposals by the legal staff of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

Another mistake was a proposal that would prevent the reporting of voting results until the secretary of state has received results from every county clerk, he said.

Nevada Press Association Executive Director Barry Smith objected to that proposal, saying it interfered with newsgathering. Gilles promised it would be removed.

SPEAKERS' COMPLAINTS

Gilles said he did not understand some criticism because speakers objected to matters that weren't in the proposed regulations.

One speaker complained that Miller was trying to get rid of the law requiring people to register at least 30 days before an election. That was not a proposal.

Another speaker complained that Miller wanted, through regulations, to overturn the state Supreme Court ruling that specified political party central committees choose the candidates for the Sept. 13 special 2nd Congressional District election. That race was won by Republican Mark Amodei.

Miller had preferred that the election be open to anyone who wanted to run, a proposal favored by Democratic leaders. But Miller actually put the Supreme Court decision into his proposed regulations.

Many comments showed that the speakers do not trust state government to fairly conduct elections.

One man complained that Republican Sharron Angle was cheated out of a victory in the 2010 U.S. Senate race, which was won by Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

Speaking from Las Vegas, Ellie Ahern said she has been complaining since 1990 that the Sequoia Pacific touch-screen election machines "can be hacked" and they are used to "alter" election results.

"You and the state of Nevada will be sued," Ahern warned Gilles. "You are hired by us. You are responsible to us."

But secretaries of state from both parties have supported the purchase and use throughout Nevada of the electronic voting machines.

COMPUTER REGISTRATION OPPOSED

The main complaint of GOP leader Stroupe was that the proposed regulations could allow "computer registration" in counties other than Clark, the only county where it now is permitted.

The proposal would allow the secretary of state to create the application form for registering by computer. Forms would require the applicants to disclose the four digits of their Social Security number and their entire driver's license number.

Nonetheless, Stroupe was not convinced that these requirements would stop illegal voting.

"We have some of the loosest election laws," Stroupe said. "The secretary of state is cutting the remaining protections."

Jim Moneyhun, a Reno member of the NVCleanUpTheVote group, said the identity of someone registering by computer cannot be verified.

"Consider what could be done in Clark County with 7,000 vacant homes," Moneyhun said, maintaining that some organization could fraudulently register thousands of voters.

"Computer hackers have gained entry into some of our government's most secure data outside of the Central Intelligence Agency," he said. "What makes Nevada think they could prevent intruders who change data?"

Gilles offered few responses to their complaints, other than saying the objections will be considered and changes made before the adoption hearing.

In response to questions after the meeting, Gilles noted that one proposal would add "photographic identification" to the list of articles that people can show to prove their identity when registering in person. Photo identification long has been sought by those concerned about fraudulent voting.

Moneyhun's objections went much further than the proposed regulations. He wants to eliminate early voting entirely, which would require changing the law. He said that would help prevent election fraud.

Ahern also asked that people who are poll watchers be allowed to move around polling places. Such people observe the voting process to make sure it's fair.

"I was a watcher, and I was told to sit. We need to walk around, look and object and make that objection loud and demonstrative," she said.

Gilles did not respond to her suggestion.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

 

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