Poll Watchers Allege Monitoring, Obstruction Attempts in Nevada

Poll Watchers Allege Monitoring, Obstruction Attempts in Nevada
Poll watcher Liu Fenglan at the Clark County Election Center in Clark County, Nev., on Nov. 8, 2020. (Linda Jiang/The Epoch Times)
Eva Fu

Two Republican poll watchers left the counting center in Nevada’s Clark County in frustration, after what they say were deliberate efforts to obstruct them from viewing the ballot handling.

The issues they alleged include a computer containing voter data that briefly went missing, duplication of ballots with apparent lack of supervision, and close monitoring by poll workers, they told The Epoch Times.

Liu Fenglan, a practicing lawyer from Los Angeles who also goes by the name Juli, was a poll watcher at the Clark County Election Center during the early voting period from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31 and again from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9. Liu said she was scheduled to work on Nov. 10 but headed back to California after she didn't hear back from the election department when inquiring about when she could start her shift.

Liu said she and other poll watchers were under constant watch from election officials, adding that someone would follow them to the restroom to make sure they wouldn't walk to unauthorized places.

“They placed us in a small corner so that we can’t see anything,” she told The Epoch Times. Liu said poll watchers had to “crowd together shoulder to shoulder” in a group of three in a small room to observe workers remove ballots from the privacy envelopes. When workers tabulate the votes, the poll watchers could only observe the poll workers on a chair placed at a distance outside the room, separated by a glass door.

 The viewing room at Clark County Election Center in Nevada on Nov. 6, 2020. (Annie Wang/NTD)
The viewing room at Clark County Election Center in Nevada on Nov. 6, 2020. (Annie Wang/NTD)

“They are basically using the pandemic as an excuse to prevent us from seeing these,” Liu said.

During the bathroom breaks, she said she walked slowly so she could observe the workers and witnessed suspicious activities that she “least wanted to see,” she said.

In an email response on Nov. 16, Dan Kulin of the Clark County Office of Public Communications said "it is worth noting that the Election Department provided more observation areas than required, and the court ruled weeks ago that the observation areas provided met our legal obligation."

Handling of Blank Ballot Forms

When issues such as water damage caused ballots to become unreadable by machine, the workers would duplicate the ballots on an empty ballot paper. The procedure involves one person reading the voter choice and the other filling out the form, and the former would do a final check, Liu said.

But at least three times, the workers appeared to be not adhering to the rules but “casually filling out the ballots at will.” On one occasion, the worker seemed to pay no attention to the original ballot; in another, there was only one worker, who pressed the ballot under her arm; in the third, one of the workers was reading books, Liu said.

Liu also described a room that contains blank ballots. Workers are not allowed to bring any pen in the room and must leave the room after they get the forms they need, but in multiple instances, the workers stayed there for several minutes in a stretch with the door shut, according to Liu. One man stayed for around six minutes and bent down to fill out a ballot form in the room, she said. The man closed the door after realizing that Liu was looking at him. Shortly after, another woman walked in to retrieve a ballot form, and Liu saw the same man still working on the form.

Missing Computer

In the center of the counting room was a computer that stores data of all the voters from Clark County. The county currently has 1.26 million active voters, its official website shows.

On Nov. 7, Liu found that a chair had been placed in front of the table where the computer was, which blocked the view of poll observers. After requesting the objects to be cleared, she saw that the computer was no longer there.

“Why is the computer missing and for how long? Who kept it and is the place secure? How many people could access the computer?” Liu asked IT personnel there, but no one could answer her questions, she said. The computer was put back after persistent questioning from poll watchers on site.

“I just found it very odd,” Liu said. “What concerned me was if the computer was not cared for properly, the 1.2 million voters’ data could be altered.”

While Liu and another poll watcher were not allowed to bring their phones or a small bag, poll workers had used their phones at the facility, and they sometimes even put the ballots right next to their personal handbag, Liu said.

Kulin of the Clark County office said that the "assumptions about a computer are simply wrong."

‘Keep Them 50 Feet Away’

Poll watcher Susan Proffitt walked out of the counting center on Nov. 8 after her repeated requests to remove physical obstacles from sight went unheard.

A stack of paper towels and personal items such as backpacks and bags had been “strategically placed” at the viewing window, with “a big chair with a big bulky coat” on the other side, making it impossible for her to see what was going on, she said.

Pointing to her own handicapped condition, she asked a poll worker to clear the items out of the way, but the woman refused, saying “they have nowhere else to put these,” she recalled. Proffitt met with a supervisor and eventually Joe Gloria, the Clark County registrar of voters, who said he had “no problem with” her requests but took no further action. She eventually decided it was “a waste of my time” to be there and packed up. As she passed by Gloria’s office, she overheard Gloria’s voice through the open door. “Obviously we do not want them to see everything. Keep them 50 feet away,” Proffitt said.

“I never thought in my lifetime I would see anything like that happening here,” she said.

The county clerk and Gloria's office did not respond to The Epoch Times' requests for comment.

 Voting record of a Republican voter in Nevada's Clark County who gave her first name Valerie on Nov. 7, 2020. (Provided to The Epoch Times)
Voting record of a Republican voter in Nevada's Clark County who gave her first name Valerie on Nov. 7, 2020. (Provided to The Epoch Times)

Voters also complained of irregularities. Two voters, who both cast their ballots during early in-person voting in October, later found their vote changed into a provisional ballot, they told The Epoch Times.

Kulin of the Clark County office maintained that "there is no difference between a provisional ballot and a regular ballot."

"They both have all the same races on them, and they both count the same," he said in his email.

"A provisional ballot is typically used when the department needs to confirm that a voter is registered or did not already vote in another jurisdiction. Once we confirm they are registered and did not vote more than once, we count the ballot," he added.

Long-time voter Tiffany Cianci went to her local polling site in Winchester town on Nov. 3 and found that three people in her family—including herself—were unable to vote because the records indicated they "have already voted."

She also found it unusual that the poll workers asked for their party affiliation—Republican—and added that she spoke to several other voters standing in line who encountered the same issue. "This is very suspicious," she said.

 Voting record of Tiffany Cianci, a voter from Clark County, Nevada on Nov. 3, 2020. (Provided to The Epoch Times)
Voting record of Tiffany Cianci, a voter from Clark County, Nevada on Nov. 3, 2020. (Provided to The Epoch Times)

The county is still verifying some 60,000 unofficial ballots on Friday, Gloria told reporters in a press briefing. He said that there were 1,502 uncured votes that could not be counted as voters did not fix their signatures in time.

Linda Jiang contributed to this report.
The article has been updated to include a response from the Clark County Office of Public Communications and to clarify Tiffany Cianci's concerns about the voting process.