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Secretary Of State will evaluate mail-in ballots for special election


by Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Secretary of State Ross Miller is asking for information from county clerks and registrars about the possibility of using mail-in ballots for the upcoming special election to fill the vacant Congressional District 2 seat.

Secretary of State Ross Miller. Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“One of our biggest concerns with the special election is trying to reduce the cost to taxpayers,” he said today. “And under new legislation, any county clerk or registrar can convert any precinct into a mail ballot-only precinct with the permission of our office.

“We’ve received several requests from some county clerks who want to at least explore that option and so we simply asked them to prepare some analysis and identify potential issues,” Miller said.

Miller is asking each county to provide his office with itemized cost estimates for printing, postage, additional staff time, and other expenses. He’s also asking local elections officials to address any administrative problems or concerns they might anticipate. County clerks and registrars are being asked to provide the information by the end of next week.

Miller said he remains skeptical that there would be any cost savings by running the special election through a mail-in ballot process, but the information provided by local election officials should help answer the question.

“All-mail elections are really a Western phenomenon,” he said. “In Oregon they use entirely mail ballots. In Washington, I believe it is over 90 percent, and Arizona is very high also. So it has been a trend that we have seen as some of the states move away from electronic voting machines.”

Miller said he has confidence in the state’s electronic voting machines.

“And so absent a very good reason to depart from the electronic machines I don’t think we’ll do it in the special election, but we certainly want to explore whether or not there are any cost savings to try to reduce the cost to taxpayers of going to the special election,” he said.

The special election expected to be set for sometime this fall is needed for voters in Congressional District 2 to pick a replacement for former Rep. Dean Heller, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat held by John Ensign.

Audio clips:

Secretary of State Ross Miller says he wants to evaluate a mail-in ballot to see if there would be a savings to taxpayers:

061711Miller1 :23 identify potential issues.”

Miller says mail-in balloting is a Western phenomenon:

061711Miller2 :20 electronic voting machines.”

Miller says he still has confidence in the state’s electronic voting machines:

061711Miller3 :24 the special election.”

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