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Clark County Commission candidate sues to stop special election

Updated November 17, 2020 - 8:15 pm

A Democratic candidate who won his race by a narrow 10-vote margin is suing the Clark County Commission for refusing to certify the results.

Ross Miller, the Democratic candidate for Clark County Commission District C, filed the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon in Clark County District Court, alleging that the board’s decision not to certify his race was “beyond its constitutional limitations.”

His lawsuit is asking for the court to force the county commission to certify the results of the race and prevent the commission from ordering a special election.

During a meeting to certify election results in the county on Monday, the commission directed Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria to return early next month with options for a special election between Miller, a former two-term secretary of state, and Republican Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony. The commission certified the results for all other races within the county.

Miller defeated Anthony by just 10 votes in the general election, but Gloria said Monday that his office had identified 139 unexplainable discrepancies in the contest — discrepancies that he said were similar to those found throughout the county, such as early voting and Election Day check-in errors and issues related to tracking of the process of mail ballots.

Since the number of discrepancies is more than the margin of victory, it called into question the validity of the results, and the uncertainty is unlikely to be resolved by a recount.

In total, Gloria said they had identified 936 issues over the 975,000 votes cast countywide, not enough to doubt any other races, according to Gloria.

“That’s the only race in the entire election where we have any concern related to the outcome, and it’s because of the close margin,” Gloria told commissioners on Monday.

In a Twitter thread Tuesday evening, Miller thanked his supporters, telling them: “Rest assured, I have won this election. We will defend the integrity of the fair process our hard working election officials administered.”

Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, Anthony’s campaign manager, noted in a statement that the lawsuit is only between Miller and the Clark County Commission — a body that is made up entirely of Democrats.

“We are focused on moving ahead to a special election and running the same honest, fact-based, community focused campaign we have been running, and we look forward to Stavros Anthony representing the fine citizens of Commission District C,” Mayo-DeRiso said.

In the complaint, Miller argues that Gloria did not say that the discrepancies directly impacted the final results of the race.

The complaint says that the commission overstepped its legal authority by not allowing for a recount to take place, which would have to be requested by one of the candidates in the race, adding that the commissioners “took the unprecedented and unlawful step of wiping clean all votes from the record in their entirety.”

A special election following a tight race is not unheard-of. The 2018 Republican primary race for county administrator was decided by four votes and was redone when human error and technical problems allowed some voters to cast a ballot twice.

In 2011, then-North Las Vegas Councilman Wade Wagner won by just a single vote and, after agreeing to a recount, was victorious in a lawsuit against the city to block a planned special election following questions about the eligibility of a voter.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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