In a Senate race that could be decided by only a few votes, Republicans in Nevada are calling attention to what they contend are a handful of irregularities in early voting records.
GOP attorney David C. O’Mara notified the Secretary of State’s office of "issues and discrepancies" that Republicans have identified in daily voting logs from Clark and Washoe counties.
While Republicans said the logs should be public record, they said the clerk in Esmeralda County "has declined to provide these records until after the election," and only some of them have been provided so far in Washoe County.
In Clark County the registrar "has changed the format of the forms themselves since the commencement of early voting," according to O’Mara’s letter Monday to deputy secretary of state Matt Griffin.
The voting logs specify the opening and closing ballot counts for each day, the number of voters who signed up, and the number of provisional ballots that were cast.
The Republicans said "extra votes" — one or two apiece — appeared on seven voting machines in Clark and Washoe counties.
"These troubling discrepancies suggest that these voting machines may have recorded extra votes erroneously, or that people were allowed to cast votes without signing up (thereby potentially allowing them to cast multiple ballots.)
"These issues and discrepancies are troubling, especially in light of the registrars’ responses," O’Mara wrote.
"We hope that you will address these issues and trust that you will take the necessary steps to ensure that the 2010 election is conducted fairly," O’Mara wrote.
The letter serves as an opening shot in the what could turn into a battle of the campaign lawyers in addition to a battle between Democrat Sen. Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle.
It came as Cleta Mitchell, a Washington-based attorney for Angle, issued a fundraising letter today saying that Reid "intends to steal this election.
“As Sharron Angle’s campaign attorney, I am sorry to report that the Democrats and their cronies are up to their same old tricks, of trying to manipulate the election in hopes of skewing the results in their favor,” Mitchell wrote. It alleges that Reid workers provided food at voter turnout events and that “Democratic allies such as teachers unions are offering gift cards in return for a vote for Reid”
In response to the Mitchell letter, Secretary of State Ross Miller’s office said in a statement it "fails to cite any evidence." It said anyone with information on "vote buying" should contact the Election Integrity Task Force at www.nvsos.gov
Reid campaign spokesman Kelly Steele told Politico the accusation is "a desperate and pathetic tactic from an Angle campaign that knows they’re losing at the polls, and has demonstrated they will do or say anything in pursuit of Sharron Angle’s extreme and dangerous agenda for Nevada."