GOP files complaint charging voting violations by unions

Republicans filed a complaint with the Nevada secretary of state’s office late Thursday alleging that labor unions representing casino workers were engaging in an unlawful pattern of coercion and intimidation at early voting sites.

The nine-page complaint was filed by Reno attorney David O’Mara on behalf of Babette Rutherford, a poll watcher at one site.

It was O’Mara’s second complaint on alleged voting irregularities this week. Earlier, he said he was legal counsel for the state GOP but after the secretary of state questioned his direct affiliation, O’Mara said that two weeks ago he became legal counsel for the Nevada GOP Victory Committee, which he called a “federal reporting committee” for the state party.

Nevada GOP Chairman Mark Amodei said O’Mara doesn’t work directly for the party but is aware of him. He said Sharron Angle’s U.S. Senate campaign is taking the lead in monitoring potential election irregularities.

Angle is challenging Sen. Harry Reid in a high-profile and hard-fought race. A strong union get-out-the-vote effort could make a difference in that race, with such efforts traditionally benefiting Democrats such as Reid with heavy organized labor support.

In his latest complaint, O’Mara said the unions have “systematically” and “repeatedly” violated state and federal election laws.

“The reports indicate that several unions are engaging in activities that appear to be intended to intimidate and coerce their members into casting their votes in the election under the close scrutiny and supervision of union personnel,” he said. “Union personnel have gone far beyond merely busing union members to early voting polling locations.”

O’Mara said poll watchers this week documented questionable conduct at Boulevard Mall, Las Vegas Outlet Mall and the Regional Transportation Commission at the Clark County Government Center.

D. Taylor, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, which represents 60,000 casino workers, called O’Mara’s claims “absurd.”

“I didn’t know it was against the law to encourage people to vote in a nonpartisan fashion,” Taylor said. “The Republicans don’t have their facts straight.”

Danny Thompson, the state AFL-CIO executive secretary-treasurer, said the Operating Engineers Union also participated, and that no laws were broken.

“This is what we do every year,” Thompson said. “Every time we mount an effort, the Republicans accuse us of doing something wrong. We’re not doing anything different than what they’re doing, which is turning out our base.”

Taylor said the Culinary Union this year worked with about 20 casinos in a nonpartisan effort to get workers out for early voting, which ended Friday. He said union and nonunion employees, as well as some managers, participated.

“We’ve done big busing before, but never in a cooperative way with the casinos, which I think is great,” Taylor said.

Ten MGM Resorts International casinos, including the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo and New York New York, participated in an effort to accommodate employee needs, said MGM Resorts spokesman Alan Feldman. As of late Thursday about 2,000 MGM Resorts workers had taken a bus to the polls, usually during their lunch hour, he said.

“We’re not filtering or telling our employees how to vote,” Feldman said. “We want them to be connected to the community and feel as though their voices are being heard.”

O’Mara alleged the unions unlawfully offered lunch to members as an incentive to vote. Taylor said the food was provided by the casinos, and Feldman said all MGM Resort employees are offered lunch on the company tab.

O’Mara also charged that union members escorted members from buses to the polling sites to prevent them from leaving, and surrounded the polls to “conspicuously” monitor members going to vote.

“Many of the union personnel who participate in this vote-monitoring and intimidation effort wear either union T-shirts or official-looking polo shirts emblazoned with the designation ‘Political Operation Team,’ which is reasonably likely to mislead people into falsely believing that the union supervisor is acting in a governmental or quasi-governmental capacity or otherwise exerting authority under color of law,” he wrote.

O’Mara provided detailed accounts from poll watchers who said they saw union representatives at the three polling sites he named. At the Boulevard Mall on Wednesday, for example, poll watchers saw union representatives create an “intrusive, coercive and intimidating” atmosphere for voters, he wrote.

After escorting people off the buses, a half-dozen union representatives were observed at the entrance to the polling place and all around it.

“Most of them had their arms crossed and were staring intensely into the polling area, carefully watching the union members as they voted,” O’Mara wrote.

None of the union escorts had a sticker identifying them as election observers, he said.

But it was unclear late Friday if such stickers are required, and O’Mara provided no statements from voters saying they felt intimidated.

Friday at the Boulevard Mall, the Las Vegas Review-Journal observed tour and shuttle buses come and go with casino workers throughout the afternoon. The housekeepers, cooks and other workers waited in line with other voters, cast their ballots and returned to the buses that brought them.

Several men in white polo shirts embroidered with “Operating Engineers Political Team” coordinated the movement of the workers from the buses to the polling line.

Tim Cremins, on scene for the Operating Engineers, called O’Mara’s claims “utterly ridiculous.”

“Intimidating anyone is going to make them vote against you, not for you, so it’s a ridiculous notion,” he said, adding that most voters likely have their minds made up when they arrive at the polling station. “We’re … not advocating. This is just to get people to the polling place.”

O’Mara asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to assign his complaint to the Nevada Election Integrity Task Force to investigate the allegations.

Miller said Friday morning that he hasn’t had a chance to read it. The secretary of state, meanwhile, released a report of his investigation of O’Mara’s earlier claims of early voting discrepancies in Clark and Washoe counties.

In a 56-page report, Carolyn Ellsworth, Miller’s securities administrator, said she found no fraud.

“My investigation reveals no evidence of voting machine tampering or voter fraud,” Ellsworth wrote. “It does reveal the presence of occasional human error in the election process, which cannot be avoided as long as humans are a part of the process.”

O’Mara had alleged that daily polling logs kept by election officials in Clark and Washoe counties showed more ballots cast than the tally of voters at seven early voting sites, five in Southern Nevada and two in Northern Nevada. The count was off by two ballots at one site, and by one each at six others.

Voting machines may have recorded extra votes erroneously, or people were allowed to cast votes without signing up, O’Mara wrote.

But Ellsworth said in her report that she interviewed county election officials and determined proper safeguards are in place to prevent that.

“It is my opinion, after a review of the procedures in place for poll workers, that the procedures attempt to balance the need to prevent voting fraud at the polls with the need to assure that every qualified voter is permitted to vote, and that said balance is achieved in these procedures,” Ellsworth wrote.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said Wednesday that he had “reconciled” the balloting differences here, but he would not say how.

Reporter Brian Haynes contributed to this report. Contact reporter Jeff German at or 702-380-8135 or read more courts coverage at

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like