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Report ranks Nevada high for confidence in elections

By Kristen Hackbarth
Published: Last Updated on

The Democracy Initiative Education Fund, a coalition of organizations working to support and sustain the democratic process, last week released a report giving Nevada high marks for its elections. 

DIEF officials said of the report’s results, “If you live in Nevada, you should have a high level of confidence” in local elections.

In the report, “Storming State Capitols,” researchers created an index of 10 aspects of the electoral process to assess voter confidence heading into the 2022 midterm elections. 

Nevada ranked seventh among U.S. states for voter confidence in elections and earned an overall “high” score based on evaluation of measures. Those include voter registration and identification, safe voting, equipment, security and auditing. 

Nevada earned low ratings in external interference in voting and medium ratings for independence of election administration and logistical barriers to voting, which includes paid time off and the lack of curbside voting.

Ten jurisdictions earned a high rating in the report, including Colorado, Maryland, Washington, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Vermont and the District of Columbia. 

The researchers ranked 18 states – many of them across the southeast – as failing to instill confidence in their elections. 

“Voting is a right,” researchers said in the report. “For the estimated 69.4 million voters living in these 18 states, it is a right that is being challenged.”

“On Jan. 6, 2021 we all witnessed a mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt a national election,” DEIF Executive Director Charly Carter said. “But what came before and after was a storm of a different kind, with our election process disrupted by anti-voter, anti-democratic moves made by legislators in numerous state capitols.”

In Nevada’s capital, legislators expanded access to voting in 2021 with Assembly Bill 321 which requires a ballot be mailed to every registered voter. Ballots were mailed to voters for the 2020 election as a safety measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in what Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske said was a relatively clean election. 

Despite Nevada’s high ranking for election security and equipment, some counties in the state continue to consider changes to elections that would eliminate voting machines and revert to using paper ballots and hand counting, a process that is prone to error.

An election resolution that came before the Washoe County Commission in March of this year – put forth by Republican Commissioner Jeanne Herman and championed by election fraud conspiracy theorists – proposed those measures along with a slew of other election reforms, some of which were illegal and others that were out of control of the Board of County Commissioners. 

It failed to pass. However, a handful of other counties in the state are taking up similar measures ahead of the primary and general elections. 

Democracy Initiative’s report states that Nevada already has a “statewide verified paper audit trail,” tests equipment using federal standards to reduce discrepancies and uses risk limiting audit methods. 

“Contrary to the drumbeat of false information about alleged hackers switching votes to impact the election, the 2020 election was not stolen,” DIEF researchers wrote. 

They suggested that three things would improve election security in the future: continued federal funding for new equipment and security measures, post-election auditing by trained public employees and voting options outside of election day.  

DEIF’s full report along with infographics is online at https://www.democracyinitiative.org/storming-state-capitols-home/#.

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