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No credible reports of election fraud in Nevada

Updated November 14, 2018 - 7:14 pm

CARSON CITY — Election officials say there have been no credible reports of voter fraud in Nevada’s midterm elections, despite claims from the head of the state Republican Party.

“When an individual challenges the integrity of the election, we would hope they would provide evidence to support the allegation. We have not been contacted by any law enforcement agency with regards to concerns with the 2018 midterm election,” a spokeswoman for Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office said in a statement.

Election officials in Clark and Washoe counties said they received no credible complaints about the election, although Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria reported Wednesday that 24 people voted twice in the general election.

The double votes had no bearing on the final results — even in Senate District 20, which Keith Pickard won by 24 votes — Gloria told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We measure all of those discrepancies in every contest,” he said. “We did not find the margin of victory would have changed in any of those circumstances.”

But double voting has happened twice in Clark County this year. More than 40 instances of double voting were found during the primary election. Gloria blamed that mostly on errors by poll workers. That led to state election officials investigating six Clark County residents for potential voter fraud, but no charges were filed.

Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections, said Wednesday that his office has not received any recommendations from Gloria’s office stemming from the recent cases of double voting.

Overall, more than 654,000 people cast a ballot in Clark County, which was the highest raw turnout the county has seen in a midterm election.

But Gloria said he was not aware of any credible complaints of widespread voter fraud, which Republicans in other states like Florida have raised as a concern and which Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald alluded to in a recent interview.

“If anyone has credible information, I would ask they share it with myself, the secretary of state and a law enforcement agency,” Gloria said.

In a radio interview Monday, McDonald cast doubt on the integrity of Nevada’s elections after Democrats defeated Republicans in nearly every competitive race in the state — including the U.S. Senate, two open House seats, governor and attorney general — and nearly winning a supermajority in both chambers of the state Legislature. The only statewide seat won by a Republican was Cegavske, who defeated Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo.

Radio host Kevin Wall asked Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald in the interview, “Do you trust the integrity of the vote?”

“No, I don’t. I really don’t. I’m sorry. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature, but I just don’t believe what happened. I really don’t,” McDonald responded. “I want to see proof. I think there were some shenanigans pulled.”

“I think there were some fingers on the scale, more than anything,” McDonald said.

Review-Journal columnist Wayne Allyn Root made similar claims about voter fraud.

But election officials stressed that there have been no reports or evidence to back up those claims.

“We’ve had no complaints to our office filed, no reports indicating fraud,” Washoe County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula said Wednesday. “There have been no indications of fraud and no allegations that we have received in Washoe County.”

McDonald said Wednesday that his comments on the radio were made “tongue-in-cheek.”

“He asked me a question. I didn’t know how to answer because I don’t know what we did wrong,” McDonald said. “I didn’t think it would be taken so seriously.”

He said he did not mean to disparage Cegavske or Gloria, but he said he does not understand how Republicans lost almost universally in Nevada after an unprecedented infusion of resources from the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump.

When asked if he believed the Democrats’ victories were won fairly, McDonald said, “Yes.”

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter. Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @DavidsonLVRJ on Twitter.

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