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EDITORIAL: Nevada secretary of state alleges voter fraud in 2016 election

It shouldn’t be a shock to learn that some illegal votes were cast in Nevada’s 2016 general election. Given the tens of thousands of people who go the polls, it’s virtually impossible to guarantee that no ineligible voter participates.

Still, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske raised plenty of eyebrows last week when she announced that she had opened an investigation into voter fraud during last year’s election. Ms. Cegavske said her office had uncovered evidence of illegal balloting.

Ms. Cegavske provided no details on the alleged fraud. Did it involve a significant number of votes or just a handful? Was it serious enough to have potentially affected any outcomes? Was it the work of a few individuals or a larger conspiracy? Where did any shenanigans take place? She didn’t say.

The only clues came in a letter the secretary of state sent to the head of the Department of Motor Vehicles, in which Ms. Cegavske revealed that “we have reason to believe that non-citizens have unlawfully registered to vote in Nevada as a direct result of DMV practices.”

State and federal law allow those who go to the DMV to fill out voter registration paperwork, which is supposed to then be verified by local election officials. State law also allows those in the country illegally to obtain driver authorization cards at the DMV. Over the weekend, DMV chief Terri Albertson took issue with Ms. Cegavske’s implication, maintaining that the agency has followed proper procedures.

Gov. Brian Sandoval also defended the department and said he had no additional information about Ms. Cegavske’s revelations. “I take any allegations of voter fraud seriously and expect to hear more from the secretary of state concerning the charge made by her office,” he said Monday.

The integrity of the electoral process is essential to the health of any democratic republic. Ms. Cegavske should aggressively pursue evidence of voter fraud, but — without jeopardizing the integrity of any ongoing probe — she also has an obligation to be a bit more forthcoming about what she has learned.

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