By SAM METZ AP / Report for America
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s top election official announced Tuesday that her staff had found far fewer complaints of alleged election fraud than state GOP leaders had claimed there were after her office processed election materials delivered to the capital on March 4.
Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald said the four boxes that he and other Republican leaders hand-delivered for investigation contained proof of more than 120,000 instances of voter fraud that called into question the integrity of the 2020 election in the western swing state. But Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s review found only 3,963 Election Integrity Violation reports submitted in McDonald’s name — or less than one-third of the documents he claimed to have delivered.
The Secretary of State allows people to fill out the two-page Election Integrity Violation forms when they believe they have witnessed people breaking election laws, which staff subsequently investigate. Spokeswoman Jennifer Russell said staff would continue to examine the complaints, some of which were already under investigation by law enforcement.
The number of reports is roughly 28 times greater than in recent election years. In 2016 and 2018, the Secretary of State received 140 and 143 of the forms, respectively.
In response, Republicans disputed the count by Cegavske’s office. Jessica Hanson, the Nevada Republican Party’s Executive Director, said in a statement the party had submitted 122,918 unique complaints on 40,669 election integrity violation forms, consolidating several similar complaints on some of the forms.
Hanson blasted Cegavske, who is also a Republican, for assuring the public for months that no evidence of election interference existed. She emphasized the fact that thousands of allegations were being examined or under investigation.
“Her office is validating our assertion that there is voter fraud in the 2020 election by claiming many of these reports were ‘already under investigation,'” she said of the election official. “We need better transparency from our elected officials investigating these matters, especially with so many Nevadans questioning the integrity of our voting process.”
Authorities have not yet determined that the allegations in the forms constitute voter fraud. Since November, Republicans have challenged Nevada’s election results in court, alleging outdated voter rolls, problems with signature verification and mail-in ballot irregularities. None of the efforts have yielded evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.