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Nevada moves to dismiss election lawsuit

Updated February 19, 2021 - 6:13 pm

Attorneys for the state of Nevada are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed in December by several former Republican elected officials who allege their votes in the 2020 election were “diluted” by “many” ballots allegedly cast by noncitizens.

A motion to dismiss filed Thursday by deputy solicitor general Gregory Zunino asks a Carson City judge to deny a request for an injunction against Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, asserting the lawsuit’s claims are based on the “demonstrably false” premise that the state does not verify the citizenship status of its electorate.

The plaintiffs — former Assemblyman Al Kramer, former Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick and real estate developer Roger William Norman — claim votes were cast by noncitizens who registered through the state’s automatic voter registration program at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Their lawsuit accuses Cegavske of not removing noncitizens from the voter rolls, as required by state law, and is aimed at forcing her to do so.

The plaintiffs are represented in part by former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who previously acted as a spokesman for several challenges to Nevada’s election as state co-chair of former President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

Zunino questioned the choice, as Laxalt formerly represented Cegavske as attorney general.

“Plaintiffs’ choice of the Secretary’s former counsel as their attorney rightly presents an appearance of impropriety and conflict, as (Laxalt) may have access to non-public and privileged information regarding the Secretary’s efforts to address DMV voter registration processes in 2017 and 2018,” he wrote.

Laxalt did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

While the latest lawsuit is not aimed at voiding the election results, it adds the vote dilution to a list of allegations thus far unsuccessfully levied against the state by Republicans in more than a dozen legal challenges.

In his motion, Zunino notes it is actually the counties, and not the state, that do the lion’s share of voter roll maintenance throughout the year. Still, the state is one of about 30 that share voter information through the Electronic Registration Information Center to help maintain its list, along with DMV and federal database help.

The filing notes verifying voter citizenship is a challenge for election officials but claimed Cegavske could provide “ample evidence” of her regular attempts to do so.

The plaintiffs also account for just three of the more than 1.4 million votes cast by Nevadans and have failed to prove legal injury by this alleged dilution, Zunino said.

“Because it is a generalized grievance common to the entire electorate, alleged vote dilution cannot serve as the basis for standing to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of any court whose powers are limited by the separation of powers doctrine,” the motion reads.

Zunino also asserts the plaintiffs’ have not yet proved the improper votes, and should they do so, Cegavske’s office will investigate as part of its normal purview.

Finally, Zunino claims the procedure for maintaining voter rolls is an issue under the jurisdiction of the Legislature or Congress, not any District Court.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

Kramer v. Cegavske (DEF. MO TO DISMISS) by Steve Sebelius on Scribd

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