The North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association on Thursday filed an ethics complaint against City Council members Robert Eliason and Anita Wood over their votes last month in favor of holding a new election in a disputed council race.
The complaint, filed with the state’s Commission on Ethics, alleged in part that the two council members violated state law last month when they "decided to order a new election" instead of canvassing the results of the Ward 4 race. Dentist Wade Wagner defeated incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio by one vote in the race. But election officials discovered that one resident had voted in the wrong precinct, so the council agreed to hold a revote in that same precinct.
That election is scheduled for July 19.
The complaint said that by ordering a new election, the council members "are preventing and circumventing the election recount process for which the candidate they are supporting (Richard Cherchio) would have to pay the costs." Instead, North Las Vegas citizens have to foot the bill for a new election, it said.
Both Wood and Eliason disclosed that they had donated to Cherchio’s campaign but didn’t feel they needed to abstain from voting on the issue. Mayor Shari Buck recused herself from voting on whether to certify the results of the election, saying that she had donated to Wagner’s campaign and that her husband had worked for the campaign.
Eliason did not return a call seeking comment Thursday evening.
Wood said she did not certify the election results in Ward 4 because it was impossible to know what the voters’ true intent was. State law says that an election’s declared result must represent the true vote cast, she said.
"I don’t know what the true result was, so how can I canvass it?" she said. "So I sent it back to the voters to give me clear direction."
The complaint was filed a day after officials with the Clark County Democratic Party said they had asked the secretary of state to investigate Buck and Wagner for allegations of improper financial disclosures related to his campaign.
Buck and Wagner, both Republicans, said they followed the law in their disclosures.
Buck chalked the matter up to politics.
"This is about Democrats trying to help Cherchio steal the election," she said.
Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at email@example.com or 702-383-0285.