What Happens In Vegas May Not Stay In Vegas: Why The Nevada Challenge Could Be Important To The Presidential Election

It turns out that some things that happen in Vegas may not stay in Vegas . . . like voting. The Republican Party in the Silver State is now arguing that thousands of votes in the close presidential election were cast by workers who moved out of the state or even by deceased individuals. Various voters reported their deceased relatives receiving live ballots in the mail. Now, the Nevada Republican Party has sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department alleging at least 3,062 instances of voter fraud in the battleground state. The referral is substantially less than the “10,000” referenced earlier but the underlying allegation is still important. The early concern for many of us was that the system established in Clark County would be difficult to review for violations due to how the tabulation was handled and the record preserved. 

The allegations over ineligible voting were raised before Election Day. Many states like Nevada are relying on notoriously outdated voter lists and applying fairly lax standards for confirming the identity of voters for mail-in ballots. In Nevada, this is a particular concern because many workers moved out of the state due to the pandemic’s impact on the casino industry. You cannot vote if you moved out of the state over 30 days prior to the balloting. The problem is the accuracy of state voting and residency records in showing such changes shortly before an election.  Absent a system of authentication of residency and identification, it would be a system based on the honor system – an approach that no casino would allow even at the nickel slots section.

As courts deal with a flurry of lawsuits in various states, I have been focusing on the allegations in Nevada of thousands of ineligible or even deceased voters. That is the type of systemic failure that could cloud results in not just the Silver State but other states.  Nevada was one of the states that I identified before the election as one of three states that I was watching the most closely for election challenges. However, the problems raised in Nevada could raise concerns with shared elements to various states from Michigan to Pennsylvania. The reliance on questionable voter lists and the lack of authentication systems were raised months ago. The legal problem is not simply that such systems may allow for large numbers of ineligible votes but that they would not allow sufficient review of ballots to resolve such questions.

The criminal referral is substantially less than the “10,000” referenced earlier but the underlying allegation is still important. The early concern for many of us was that the system established in Clark County would be difficult to review for violations due to how the record was being preserved.

The Republicans are claiming that this is just the first set of identified voters with alleged ineligibility. Conversely, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, issued a statement arguing the state was “widely recognized as being a leader in election administration,” and that he had “the utmost confidence in the abilities of Nevada’s local election officials and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to accurately count every eligible vote cast in the Silver State.” We have no basis to rule in or rule out either claim.

I have repeatedly stated that we must not make assumptions on either side.  My concern is that it is not clear how a court could review these ballots in Clark County if it agrees that there appears to be systemic problems.  If the court believes that thousands votes illegally, that lack of a record could prove the undoing of the state officials. At some point, the burden can shift and courts demand proof that a problem was not systemic. If they cannot, the question will be raised whether the same vulnerability existed in other states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Georgia. A court could be presented with a decision of when the unknowable becomes the unacceptable.  If the court believes that thousands of unlawful votes were cases and the ultimate number impossible to confirm, the only certain way to address a systemic failure would be a special election – a prospect that few judges would relish and even fewer would seriously consider.

What we know is that we are rapidly running out of runway to deal with this problem.  The options range from a detailed review of ballots to the remote possibility of a new election. All of those options take time as we saw in 2000 with the Florida recount. If the time runs out, we could have an election with lingering doubt over the legitimacy of the vote count in states like Nevada – a poisonous prospect for any democratic process.

“Gonzo reporter” Hunter S. Thompson once said that “For a loser Vegas is the meanest town on earth.” The question for a court may be whether it is equally unkind to a winner if he cannot prove what he won.

88 thoughts on “What Happens In Vegas May Not Stay In Vegas: Why The Nevada Challenge Could Be Important To The Presidential Election”

  1. I know of one instance where sacks of ballots were left at a mall mail drop in Vegas. All had the same handwriting. The postman who picked it up was told to pass them on with no questions.
    This is from a colleague at work whose wife’s cousin is the postal worker. They seem to be afraid to come forward.

    1. It would not have been the *postman’s* job to take any official action other than to bring the mail to the post office. No matter how suspicious the ballots seem to be, *Election officials*, not pospersons, pass on the validity of ballots they receive.

  2. Clark County Registrar Of Voters Responds To GOP Allegations of Fraud

    Joe Gloria, the registrar of voters in Clark County, Nev., responded Friday to accusations from the Nevada Republican Party that more than 3,000 people voted illegally after moving out of state.

    County officials are going through the list of voters provided by the GOP, he said, but he cautioned that it is not unusual for people to legally cast ballots after moving out of the state.

    “You don’t have to live here in order to be eligible to vote here,” Gloria said. Las Vegas is a military town and home to nearby Nellis Air Force Base, he said. Some people leave the state to go to college. Those service members and students are eligible to continue voting in Nevada even if they leave the state, he said.

    On Thursday, the Nevada GOP sent information about the allegedly fraudulent votes to Attorney General William P. Barr. The list of more than 3,000 voters did not include names, but it did show the addresses to which the Nevada voters allegedly moved, according to the National Change of Address database.

    Some of the voters gave as their new addresses codes used to send mail to overseas military installations or diplomatic posts.

    Spokespeople for the Nevada GOP and Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a question about whether they were accusing members of the military of voting in Nevada improperly because those voters had moved out of state for service.

    A Justice Department official said Wednesday that the department was “looking into” the allegations but declined to provide more detail.

    Full Article from: “Clark County Registrar of Voters Responds to GOP Allegations of Fraud”

    Today’s Washington Post

    This piece makes you wonder why Republicans don’t learn all the facts before shooting their mouths off.

  3. I believe the Democrats engaged in massive and coordinated election fraud in five metros dominated by corrupt Democrat machines. I hope the Supreme Court provides a substantial remedy for this abuse. If the Court says the results must stand, I will accept the Court’s ruling. I won’t spend the next 20 years whining like a Democrat. There was no Russian collusion and Bush won fairly!!

    1. brookslide is no doubt our regular troll who comments under multiple names every single day.

    2. And yet brookslide apparently had no problem with the counts in these places in 2016. Hmmmmmm.

  4. Read my mind, DA. It has been heading that way for years and steadily gaining momentum. Along the way, Turley has been pandering to the crazies more and more. And the days of thoughtful, well-reasoned comments are few and far between.

  5. President Trump was Impeached, and this election was supposed to be the definitive nail in his political coffin. Instead he won ~70 million votes and the Electoral College contest is razor thin across multiple states, with an unfortunate appearance, however false in fact, of last ditch mail-in ballot fraud centered around a handful of key Democratic strongholds.

    I was hoping to see a stronger mandate in the event of a Biden win. As it stands, the Supreme Court may now be the only institution with the capacity to deliver anything like that mandate. Or perhaps it really can be handled entirely at a lower level. Time, evidence and level heads will tell.

    As Turley writes regarding the state of evidence in the Nevada case: “The question for a court may be whether it is equally unkind to a winner if he cannot prove what he won.”

    Assuming the AP calls NV, GA, or PA in his favor, what message about concession should Biden send Trump in his primetime victory speech tonight?

    “Concede now, President Trump, or concede if and when the Courts are finished telling you to concede – but either way, don’t expect me to stop my Transition Team work as President-Elect. Kamala Harris and I have an unmistakable duty to move forward. We are confident the courts will definitively answer all lingering doubts that many of you are sure to have.”

    1. JOnathan, Biden is set to win with at least a 4 million vote victory over the other guy (California has tons of more votes coming in). Given that the previous occupant had lost by 2 million, that is a mandate, and this is the 1st I have heard you even raise that measure. The other guy was repudiated 4 years ago by the voters .

      1. From the WSJ:

        “As the votes continue to be counted in swing states, Joe Biden has the best chance to become the next President. But the closer we inspect the nationwide election returns, the more the result looks like a defeat for the rest of his Democratic Party and especially for the progressive agenda. Mr. Biden would take office without a mandate beyond addressing Covid-19 and not being Donald J. Trump.”


        I agree the mandate could be stronger but I very much disagree it’s the progressive wing’s fault.

        Bernie tweets: “I want to thank progressive grassroots organizations for their extraordinary efforts in helping to make Biden’s victory possible. Together, you built widespread support for Biden among young people, people of color and the working class. Congratulations. Let’s keep going forward.”


    2. Biden should send a message of unity. He should pledge to appoint Robert Reich as the head of his new Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

      1. “When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.”


        From the other side:

        “Unfortunately for those who say they wish to heal the nation and bring back decency and compassion, threatening voters who dissent might be the wrong approach. Yet it has been a theme of Democratic political actors and pundits across social media platforms since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016.”

        “If anything deserves a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it’s the Hunter Biden drama, but pro-Biden forces won’t allow it. They want one for Trump and his supporters.”


  6. kamala Harris is not eligible to be either president, or, vice-president. Here are some posts I come across and other info. Her parents were not American citizens They were in America on visas and she is a misapplied 14th Amendment citizen, maybe.
    21 July, 2020
    Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, CA in 1964. Her parents came here from India (1960) and Jamaica (1961) legally, with green cards, but it takes a minimum of 5 years residence to be eligible for naturalization. They had not lived here long enough to have become citizens prior to Kamala’s birth. They were still foreign nationals, not citizens, when Kamala was born. They also divorced when Kamala was 7 years old and her mother took her and her younger sister to live in Canada, where Kamala was educated through high school, then she came back to the US to go to college. She would just be a female version of Obama, who was never eligible because his Kenyan, British subject father was not a US citizen. MUST be born on US soil to parents (plural) who are themselves, citizens, to be a constitutionally REQUIRED “natural born citizen”, for the offices of potus and vp. Those are the only two offices that require the occupant to be a natural born citizen. All others can be any kind of citizen, natural born, native born or naturalized.

    21 July, 2020
    The Republicans (which I have been for my lifetime) must have decided that since Obama “got away with it”, that they could, too. Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio were not eligible in 2016. Cruz because of his birth in Canada and non-citizen father. Rubio and Jindal (and Nikki Haley) were born here, but like Kamala, their parents were not citizens when their children were born. Tulsi Gabbard has the same problem as Cruz, except she had two citizen parents instead of one, but she was not born on US soil. Dan Crenshaw has the same problem. His parents were both citizens but he was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Children born outside of the U.S. to one or two citizen parents are “naturalized by congressional statute” citizens, not natural born citizens. See Rogers v. Bellei (1971) “Although those Americans who acquire their citizenship under statutes conferring citizenship on the foreign-born children of citizens are not popularly thought of as naturalized citizens, the use of the word “naturalize” in this way has a considerable constitutional history. Congress is empowered by the Constitution to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” Art. I, § 8. Anyone acquiring citizenship solely under the exercise of this power is, constitutionally speaking, a naturalized citizen.” -Rogers v. Bellei, 401 U.S. 815 (1971)

    21 July, 2020
    Happersett v Minor (1875) “Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United States in two ways: first, by birth, and second, by naturalization. This is apparent from the Constitution itself, for it provides that ‘No person except a natural-born citizen or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution shall be eligible to the office of President,’ … “The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or “natural-born citizens”, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as “citizens” children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case, it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.” Kamala Harris is a “citizen”, because her parents were here as legal residents, but she is not a “natural born citizen”, because her parents were still foreign nationals, not yet citizens.

    Senator Jacob Howard said ” this will not, of course, include persons born in the US who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to families if ambassadors or foreign ministers. (He helped draft the 14th) Senator Edgar Cowan said ” it is perfectly clear that the mere fact a man was born in the country has not heretofore entitled him to the right to exercise political power”.
    Her parents student visas so temporary therefore they were foreigners.
    Many Supreme Court cases on the subject also. The Supreme Court has never held automatic birthright citizenship.
    Elk v. Wilkens
    Hamdi v Rumsfeld

    She is a natural born citizen OF JAMAICA. Jamaica goes by the old English law of natural born subject as long as the Father is a JAmaican citizen. See Jamaica Constitution 2nd Chapter Section 6. Also SEC. 4. Section 202(b) (8 U.S.C. 1152(b)) (3) an alien born in the United States shall be considered as having been born in the country of which he/she is a citizen or subject, or, if he is not a citizen or subject of any country, in the last foreign country in which he had his residence as deter. Harris was an alien due to her parents not being U.S. citizens at the time of her birth. This excludes Harris from being a 14th Amendment citizen.


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