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VICTOR JOECKS: Las Vegas veteran: Someone stole, successfully returned my ballot

Garrett Smith said he didn’t vote in November’s election. His ballot, however, was successfully returned.

Smith is a veteran who lives in Las Vegas. He doesn’t have much use for politics or voting.

“I was in the Navy,” Smith said. “I never voted in my entire life, because I always felt my vote didn’t count, because of the Electoral College.”

Smith said he never even registered to vote. His wife, however, is “very hard core” about politics and is a registered Republican. In the brouhaha after the election, “we saw somewhere to check on the website to see if your ballot was received.” Given that “things are so weird right now,” he decided to check his own name.

To his shock, Smith discovered both that he was registered to vote and that his mail ballot had been accepted. Smith insisted that he never registered to vote and never received a ballot in the mail.

Here’s one possible explanation for how Smith came to be registered. He and his wife bought a house last November. He said he used the DMV’s online services to change his address. Nevada now has automatic voter registration, which registers people unless they opt out. A consultant looked up when Smith had been registered and said it was late November 2019. It’s possible, even likely, he was registered to vote without realizing it.

As an aside, this is one of the troubling aspects of automatic voter registration. In 2017, more than 20,000 legal immigrants had driver’s licenses and ID cards. The law now automatically registers those noncitizens to vote. When people go to the DMV, they aren’t reading the fine print. Most people will click through whatever is in front of them in order to get out of there.

Previously, an immigrant registered through this process would have had to show up in person to vote or request an absentee ballot. That’s at least a small hurdle. This year, those individuals received a ballot in the mail, an open invitation to commit voter fraud.

It’s possible to determine how many people used a green card as their primary identification when getting a driver’s license or ID card. Once you have that list, it would be easy to compare it to those who voted. But Nevada officials have shown little interest in being proactive to discover voter fraud.

Back to Smith’s situation. “It’s upsetting you know,” he said. “I fought for this country. I did my time.” Not voting “was my silent way of protesting.”

Smith also wondered how Clark County officials accepted the signature on his ballot envelope.

“They were supposed to check our signatures,” he said. “My signature is kind of unique.”

It’s yet more evidence, as I’ve previously demonstrated, that signature verification is a joke. Clark County election officials accepted my signature on eight of nine ballot envelopes returned by other people. Those voters copied my signature onto their ballot envelopes, which kept everything legal.

None of this is evidence of elections being “stolen” or results being altered. But in a sane world, stories such as Smith’s would spark an investigation by state officials. Is what happened to him an isolated incident or indicative of larger problems? Instead, Attorney General Aaron Ford insists there’s nothing to see here.

“As our Supreme Court justices noted, this election was handled ‘properly, reliably and with integrity,’ which is a standard we can always expect from the state of Nevada,” Ford said.

Tell that Smith, a veteran who didn’t vote, but whose ballot was counted anyway.

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 Twitter.

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