Nevada Republicans Ask Court to Pause Las Vegas-Area Ballot Counting

October 25, 2020 Updated: October 25, 2020

The Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party sued election officials in the Las Vegas area, seeking to halt the ballot counting process immediately until Trump campaign volunteers are allowed to closely observe the process.

The lawsuit (pdf) was filed against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, and Joseph Gloria, registrar of voters for Clark County, Nevada’s most populous county, which includes the city of Las Vegas.

According to the lawsuit, volunteer poll watchers in Clark County are often located more than 25 feet away from the vote tallying process, and can’t see the computer screens or monitors of individual workers or observe calls that are made when authenticating ballots. County election officials also “wholly rejected” the Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans’ proposal to install cameras in vote tallying locations that would allow volunteers to monitor the process while complying with public health restrictions.

Moreover, poll watchers must also be accompanied by “ambassadors” at all times, but “there are not enough ambassadors to allow consistent and meaningful observation of the entire process,” the complaint reads. “Without meaningful observation, there cannot be any assurances of transparency.”

Ballot Counting Begins In Nevada
Observers and members of the media look on as Clark County election workers scan mail-in ballots at the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 20, 2020. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Clark County must stop its counting of early mail-in ballots “until proper procedures are in place to ensure transparency and integrity in all parts of the process,” Nevada Republicans say in their 13-page complaint.

“Transparency is paramount to ensure Nevadans the right to a free and fair election,” Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald said in a press release. “Clark County’s refusal to allow people to observe the handling of ballots and their low standards for matching signatures should disturb all voters. It is troubling that those trusted to run our elections are going to have to be compelled by the court to follow state law and protect this election.”

In response, the Nevada Democratic Party said the lawsuit is an “obvious attempt to impede record-breaking momentum in Clark County” and a “baseless attack aimed at undermining confidence in Nevada’s election integrity.”

“The demands articulated in the GOP’s lawsuit amount to voter suppression, plain and simple,” Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II said in a press release. “Nevadans are tired of the GOP’s bad faith cowardice, and that is why they will remain laser-focused on rejecting Trump for the next eleven days.”

During the 2016 presidential election, Hilary Clinton won the heavily Democratic Clark County 52.4 to 41.7 percent, while then-candidate Donald Trump nearly dominated parts of Nevada outside Clark County.