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Exclusive: GOP-led nonprofit claims Clark County violated federal election law

A Republican-led nonprofit that says it’s dedicated to defending elections sent a letter Tuesday to Nevada’s most populous county alleging it is violating federal election law.

Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections, a group co-founded by prominent Republicans including former U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, accused Clark County of prematurely deleting records and not fully complying with a public records request the group sent a year ago.

The National Voter Registration Act requires officials to retain records for two years regarding its practices for canceling ineligible voters and make them available to the public upon request, according to the organization’s representatives. The group claims the county has done neither and will face litigation if it doesn’t immediately produce the available records in response to the group’s request.

“RITE has identified a new disappearing act in Las Vegas, but this one is far less entertaining than a magician on the Strip,” said Derek Lyons, president of the organization, which was launched in 2022 with the help of GOP strategist Karl Rove and attorney Bobby Burchfield, in a statement.

Clark County declined to comment for the story.

During a broader audit of Nevada’s voter roll cleanup efforts in which the group filed similar requests with Washoe County and the secretary of state’s office, Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections claims to have found “substantial evidence” that Clark County was deleting emails about its administration of programs to remove ineligible voters from the voter registration rolls rather than retaining them for two years.

“RITE has tried for months to resolve this and other document-related issues with the county, but its requests for an explanation have been ignored,” Lyons said in the statement.

The organization had asked for a large number of documents in its initial request from February 2023, including emails, text messages and other written correspondence between election departments and a variety of agencies, including Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Clark County District Courts and the United States Postal Service.

The group also sought complaints and communications from Nevada voters who received a mail ballot intended for a former resident and information on the number of mail ballots sent by the county’s election department that were returned as undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service during the 2022 elections.

Clark County only disclosed 169 emails in response to the group’s records requests. In comparison, Washoe County made more than 4,300 emails available in a similar request, the nonprofit said. The secretary of state’s office also released more than 2,000 records, according to the organization.

Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections received copies of emails from Washoe and the secretary of state’s office that had included Clark County election officials, yet Clark County did not make available those emails in response to the group’s request, the organization claims.

Clark County appears to have a default 180-day destruction period for most emails sent to or from county elections, the election group alleges.

The National Voter Registration Act’s two-year retention policy as well as its public records disclosure provision are key measures for transparency that allow the public to monitor compliance with voter registration laws, the organization said.

The county has 90 days to respond and fix the issues, or else it could be met with litigation from the group, which also alleges Clark County is likely in violation of state laws that require it to safeguard and preserve records.

“As RITE has maintained consistently, we will work with you in good faith to come into compliance, but it is imperative that the public, including Nevada voters, can be confident that election officials are complying with important laws that help ensure the transparent administration of our elections in accordance with state and federal law,” the group wrote.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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