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Little change after Nevada GOP governor recount

Updated July 7, 2022 - 9:15 am

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s lead in the Republican governor primary saw very little change after county election officials across Nevada finished recounting hundreds of thousands of votes last week.

The recount was requested by Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, who finished second in the race, at his own cost of nearly $200,000. The redone count showed that Lombardo’s statewide vote tally fell by one, while Gilbert’s total fell by six, according to election officials in Nevada’s 17 counties who either posted the results online or were contacted by the Review-Journal. Gilbert lost to Lombardo by roughly 26,000 votes.

But Gilbert, who has raised allegations of widespread voter fraud in the race without providing evidence, has said that he did not expect the recount to change the results and that it is a step toward a future lawsuit challenging the results.

“All they’re doing is using the same fixed and cooked ballots, putting them through the same, broken machines,” Gilbert said in a video filmed last week. “So, do I expect much to come from this? No. But it’s part of the process.”

Ten counties reported no changes in results from their primary counts to the recounts. Most of the others reported minor changes, such as Elko’s recount reducing Gilbert’s total by three and Washoe County’s showing that Gilbert gained two votes.

In Clark County, which makes up by far the largest portion of the state’s votes, 16 votes were changed in the recount. The recount reduced Lombardo’s original vote count by eight and Gilbert’s by seven, and one additional vote was counted, according to the county.

Those changes for Clark County occurred in the recounting of some mail ballots during what’s called the adjudication process, according to county spokesman Dan Kulin. That process happens after a ballot is marked in a way that is not clear or marks on the ballot make the ballot unreadable by the a machine. When that happens, the ballot goes to a bipartisan adjudication board that inspects it and determines for whom the voter intended to select.

In Nye County, the results changed because county officials discovered a single USB stick had not been processed in the primary. That USB stick contained 21 total votes — four Democrats, four nonpartisans and 13 Republicans.

Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino said those additional votes resulted in seven more votes for Lombardo and one more for Gilbert.

Merlino, who is resigning from the position next month, told Nye County commissioners during a meeting Wednesday that it was human error on her part for not ensuring that stick was counted initially and said there would be a process put in place for the general election to ensure it can’t happen again.

The recount results won’t be official until each county has canvassed their respective votes, which will happen over the next few days.

Gilbert’s campaign paid $190,960 to the Nevada secretary of state’s office last week to cover the costs of the recounts. The overall cost of the recount will be less than initially anticipated, though, as Washoe County said that its total costs came out to just more than $9,000, after an initial estimate of roughly $84,000.

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

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