July 12, 2016 - 5:09 pm
A Las Vegas judge tossed the case of a Republican Nevada Assembly candidate who challenged the results of a primary race she lost last month and wanted two precincts in the Moapa Valley area to cast their ballots again.
Judge Elissa Cadish dismissed a case Tuesday that was filed by Tina Trenner, one of six losing candidates who are challenging their election results. Trenner argued that errors on voter registration cards sent to people in the Logandale area in December could have caused confusion in the race, which she lost to Pahrump Assemblyman James Oscarson by 133 votes.
“There was an error,” Cadish said. “However, I do not have evidence to demonstrate that those errors are sufficient to change the results.”
Cadish added that the court doesn’t have authority to call for the revote Trenner wanted. Nevada law allows county commissioners to call for a revote, but only in catastrophic situations that prevent people from casting their ballots, such as a fire that destroys a polling place, according to Oscarson lawyer Daniel Stewart.
Clark County elections officials said they had printed the wrong Assembly district number on 1,858 cards that were sent out this winter. The error emerged while officials were retooling their system to conform with a new law that calls for town board members to be elected.
They said the database errors were fixed in January, and sample ballots had the correct districts listed. Trenner said she heard from some people in the area that the registration card matter caused confusion, and she said she wasn’t confident in the accuracy of a database of potential voters that she was using.
But Trenner was unable to provide specific examples of voters who declined to cast their ballots in the race because of the registration card mix-up. Stewart argued that such an error would have affected candidates in those precincts equally.
“There’s no evidence that the confusion favored one candidate or another,” he said.
In dismissing the case, Cadish also said Trenner didn’t have the proper legal grounds for filing the election challenge.
Nevada law allows for “statements of contest” when there’s a possible malfunction of a voting machine. While Trenner alleged that in her initial complaint, she filed a document later that backed away from those claims and focused on the registration cards.
Trenner said after court that she thought the judge was fair and doesn’t plan to pursue her complaint any further.
Trenner’s complaint was one of six filed by staunchly anti-tax Republican Assembly candidates who each lost their primaries by at least 100 votes. Those cases, which haven’t had court hearings yet, were filed by Diana Orrock, Steve Sanson, Connie Foust, Mary Rooney and Blain Jones.
Stewart requested that Trenner pay the legal costs in the case, saying the court needs to set a precedent on wasteful election challenges in light of the five other cases working their way through the system.