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VICTOR JOECKS: Dozens of double voting cases in Nevada sent to police

Voter fraud is such a problem in Nevada that even a Democrat elected official is begrudgingly acknowledging it.

Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar recently issued a report on election security. His office investigated 146 instances of potential double voting in the 2022 general election. The report labeled 76 of the cases as “criminal.” Of those, 44 have been “referred for investigation” to the Nevada Department of Public Safety. Another three were sent to the attorney general’s office for prosecution. The remaining 29 were “closed by SOS, no action.” Also, there are open investigations on 26 cases of “possible cross-state votes.”

But instead of acknowledging that the system is vulnerable to fraud, Aguilar wants to downplay it.

“There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Nevada, at any point in our state’s history,” he said.

That statement is an attempt to deflect from a few important points. For one, even small amounts of voter fraud can swing elections. In 2020, Republican Clark County Commission candidate Stavros Anthony lost his race to Ross Miller by 15 votes. There were more than 150,000 ballots cast in that race. Then-Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said his office found 139 discrepancies it couldn’t explain in that contest. But the Democrats on the Clark County Commission certified Miller as the winner anyway.

Next, these double voting cases reveal flaws in Nevada’s election system. Take an example cited in the report as a “civil notice.” A father and son with the same name live at the same address. “The son votes in person,” the report said. “The dad mistakenly fills out his son’s ballot and mails it” in, the report said. The ballot is flagged and not counted. The father isn’t charged because it was accidental.

In one sense, the system worked because it caught the ballot. But there’s still a failure. The father lost his vote because Nevada mails ballots to all active voters. If individuals had to request an absentee ballot, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

Finally, while the SOS’ report confirms fraud is possible, it doesn’t show how big the problem is.

The system can catch someone who sends in a mail ballot and then tries to vote in person. But how can it stop, much less prosecute, someone who picks up ballots from the trash can of an apartment complex? How can it stop someone from completing a ballot they receive for a past resident of their home? The tests that I’ve run show signature verification is a deeply flawed security measure.

Another potential problem is voting by noncitizens. Nevada automatically registers them when they visit the DMV and sends them a ballot. In 2021, then-Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office identified more than 5,300 registered voters “who presented an immigration document” when getting a driver’s license. It found 4,057 of them had voted in the 2020 election. It’s possible some had become citizens after receiving their drivers’ license. It’s also possible many hadn’t and voted anyway. The SOS’ office refused to investigate further.

On Tuesday, I asked the SOS’ office a number of pointed questions. For instance, what proactive steps does it take to investigate the integrity of the system and the effectiveness of signature verification? Is it taking steps to identify and remove noncitizens from the voter rolls? Does it believe those committing fraud will announce it after the election?

On Wednesday, Cecilia Heston, the SOS’ public information officer, said she was working to provide me the answers that night. I haven’t heard from her since. No surprise.

Perhaps there’s “no evidence of widespread voter fraud” because Aguilar is sticking his head in the sand and wants you to do the same.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on X.

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