November 6, 2016 - 8:00 pm
In this hyper-partisan election cycle, most voters can still agree that our free, fair and transparent election system and history of the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next is the hallmark of our American democracy. Our elections are the gold standard and have been used as a model for budding democracies across the globe.
As a former Nevada attorney general and governor, I have experience in ensuring Nevada’s elections are free and fair and that issues of voter fraud are few and far between. That is why I’m proud that, in Nevada, we have established an Election Task Force to ensure that all votes are counted fairly. I serve on this task force, along with other members of the Republican Party, Democratic Party and nonpartisans.
This group was established in September 2015 and has been working since then to ensure we have the best run election process in America. It’s important in the final days of this election cycle that we work to reassure voters that our systems are secure and that their votes will be accurately counted. I’d like to outline the safeguards we have in place and why you can be assured our election results will be accurate.
In Nevada, our elections are decentralized, run at the state and local level by officials in our local community, overseen by the Republican secretary of state, Barbara Cegavske. Voting takes place in public settings — at our local schools, community centers, churches and firehouses — and polling places are staffed by local trained volunteers. The process of vote counting is done under the watchful eyes of representatives from both political parties and usually, members of the press.
It’s as transparent a system as it can be.
To reassure voters this election cycle, Nevada has taken steps to ensure even one-off instances of attempted voter fraud are detected and prevented on and before Election Day. Just last month, Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Ms. Cegavske formed an election poll monitoring program modeled after a similar program initiated by the U.S. Justice Department during the 1960s to track instances of voter intimidation, voter fraud, inappropriate electioneering or any other nefarious activity.
Additionally, both political parties are invited to deploy their own poll watchers to precincts to monitor activities outside of the poll site and can report any instances of concern.
Nevada’s electoral system has several checks and balances already built in. For example, every vote cast in the Silver State comes with a paper trail, because each machine vote inputted includes a paper printout that voters can review and verify before officially casting their ballot. Thanks to this system, according to the FBI special agent in charge of Nevada, Aaron Rouse, audits have never found a single faulty vote since the adoption of the machines in 2004.
Furthermore, since our polling places are decentralized and not connected with the internet, voting machines are safe from virtual “hacking” attempts.
We also have a robust system to review election results. If questions or concerns arise about the integrity of a vote, or if the results are close, any defeated candidate may demand and receive a recount. This process serves as another crucial check against fraud and abuse, ensuring that the winner with the most votes prevails.
And after the election, detailed records of who voted and where are kept and can be made available to all interested parties who wish to examine the results.
Whether you vote by absentee, choose to vote early or vote on Tuesday, you can rest assured that your Nevada election officials and our task force are working diligently to ensure that each and every vote matters — and that the integrity of our system remains strong.
Robert List, a Republican, served as governor of Nevada from 1979-1983.