Election laws and what to do moving forward (Opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Election laws and what to do moving forward (Opinion)

Danny Tarkanian / Guest column
Danny Tarkanian

Many Republicans have spent the past two years complaining about voter fraud without any proof to support their allegations. Making these allegations without proof undermines the credibility of the Republican Party. Worse yet, making allegations that are easily disproved eliminates any credibility. 

That is exactly what the leaders of the Nevada Republican Party did. At numerous press conferences and party events they claimed that thousands of dead people voted in the 2020 elections and thousands more voted twice. There is no gray area here; either it is true, or it is not. On multiple occasions, I requested that the names of these people be released publicly so we could prove voter fraud happened but each time the state party refused. The reason the names were never released is because it didn’t happen. 

However, as with most controversial issues, it isn’t one sided. The Democrats, under the guise of Covid, passed sweeping elections laws that fail to protect the integrity of the ballot. Ballot harvesting (the practice of picking up ballots from voters and dropping them off at the election department) was a felony in Nevada. It still is in most states. In 2020, Nevada Democrats made it legal.

It is ironic and hypocritical that state law prevents a person from waving a campaign sign or wearing a campaign t-shirt 100 feet from a polling place because it might influence someone’s vote, but it is alright to go over a person’s house, watch them, even instruct them, to fill out their ballot, and then drop the ballot off at the polling place. 

Mailing a ballot to every voter without the voter requesting one, another law passed by Nevada Democrats in 2020, results in thousands of unaccounted ballots permeating through society.  If there is going to be universal mail in ballots there must be strict signature verification. 

In Clark County, the exact opposite has been implemented. The registrar of voters, a Democrat, lowered the signature verification level to the lowest recommended by the software manufacturer and if a signature somehow was flagged by this low threshold a majority of three people, two from different parties and the Democrat register of voters had to agree the signatures didn’t match, or the ballot was counted. 

Victor Joecks, from the Las Vegas Review Journal, tested the accuracy of this process. In the 2020 elections, nine voters submitted their ballots with their name signed by Joecks. Eight were accepted. In 2022, 11 voters submitted their ballot with Joecks’ signature. Six were accepted. Joecks’ tests prove the signature verification process used in Clark County does not identify even half of the fraudulent signatures submitted.

This practice is extremely dangerous because there is no way to prove voter fraud after the fact because the envelope which contained the signature that is matched against the signature on file with the Secretary of State’s office is discarded when the vote is counted. 

The Republican Party would have been better served bringing to light these valid concerns and fighting for more stringent signature verification requirements, then peddling false claims.

Moving forward what should be done? Universal mail in ballots is here to stay in Nevada. The law will be overturned only if the Republicans take control of the Assembly, Senate, and the Governor’s office, which has occurred only once in the last 50 years. 

Unfortunately, ballot harvesting is also probably here to stay. Despite its potential for catastrophic abuse and no ways to monitor it, don’t expect the Democrats to repeal it. It gives the Culinary Union a powerful weapon.

As much as Republicans may not like it, they must embrace both. Stop discouraging members from voting by mail. In fact, create a robust, well-funded, effective campaign for both mail in ballots and ballot harvesting. 

In the 2022 elections, more than 155,000, registered Republicans in Nevada did not vote. Every statewide race was close, except for Attorney General. If the Republican Party had spent one-tenth the time on mail in ballots and ballot harvesting as they did making false claims of election fraud they would have finally earned success after years of failure. 

The rules have changed, not necessarily for the best, but they are the rules. Either the Republican Party will adjust, or it will fade off as a distant memory.

Danny Tarkanian is District 1 commissioner for Douglas County.

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