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Nevada GOP, Trump campaign files appeal to judge’s ruling

In this June 9, 2020, file photo, election workers process mail-in ballots during a nearly...
In this June 9, 2020, file photo, election workers process mail-in ballots during a nearly all-mail primary election in Las Vegas.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 6:25 PM PDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2020 at 2:10 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - NOV. 3, 2 P.M. The Nevada GOP and Trump campaign have filed an appeal to Monday’s ruling in their lawsuit against Clark County for the County’s ballot counting process.

The appeal was filed on the eve of Election Day. The Nevada GOP and Trump campaign claim the signature matching system in Clark County is defective, and is now appealing to the Nevada Supreme Court.

In a press release, the campaign said in part:

“The system is supposed to scan only signature images greater than 200 dpi resolution, but Clark County has been scanning signature files lower than that minimum manufacturer setting, casting doubt on whether the system reads any signature accurately.”

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald said, “The Nevada Republican Party and Trump Campaign are committed to a free and fair election which is why we are taking this fight to the Nevada Supreme Court.”

Read the appeal below:

NOV. 2 8:40 A.M. First Judicial District Court Judge James Wilson has denied a Petition for Writ of Mandamus in a lawsuit brought by the GOP and the Trump campaign against Clark County.

In his ruling, Judge James Wilson ruled that:

  • Petitioners do not have standing to bring these claims.
  • Registrar Joseph Gloria has not failed to meet his statutory duty under NRS 293B.343(1) to allow members of the general public to observe the counting of ballots.
  • Registrar Gloria has not precluded Petitioners from the use and enjoyment of a right to which Petitioners are entitled.
  • Registrar Gloria has not exercised discretion arbitrarily or through mere caprice.
  • Registrar Gloria has not acted without or in excess of authorized powers.
  • Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has not failed to meet any statutory duty under NRS 293B.353(1) to allow members of the general public to observe the counting of ballots.
  • Secretary Cegavske has not unlawfully precluded Petitioners from the use and enjoyment of a right to which Petitioners are entitled.
  • Secretary Cegavske has not exercised discretion arbitrarily or through mere caprice.
  • Secretary Cegavske has not acted without or in excess of authorized powers.
  • Secretary of State Cegavske has not precluded Petitioners the use and/or enjoyment of a right to which petitioners are entitled.

In all, Judge Wilson ruled that that the petitioners failed to prove any of their claims.

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald issued the following statement on the ruling:

“The judge’s ruling today should send a chill down every Nevadan’s spine. The court affirmed that the bill to overhaul Nevada’s election system, which was passed at the 11th hour less than 100 days from Election Day, provides no ability to meaningfully observe or challenge obvious signature mismatches. This is a dark day in our state’s history, but our fight for a free, fair, and transparent election is not over. We are evaluating an expedited appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.”

Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford also issued a statement, applauding the ruling:

“The president’s deliberate attempts to undermine Nevada’s elections have failed yet again,” said AG Ford. “He has made every attempt to control the outcome of this election without any regard for the health and safety of residents or Nevada’s state laws designed to protect the sanctity of the ballot. Today’s ruling makes clear that there is a proper procedure to observe an election that even the president must follow, and it’s most certainly a victory for the constitutional rights of all Nevadans.”

UPDATE OCT. 30 4:00 P.M. Nevada Republican leaders and President Trump’s campaign representatives say a judge has made a ruling in their lawsuit against Clark County for the County’s ballot counting process. The Republicans say, they just don’t know what that ruling is.

The Republicans provided emails to KOLO 8 News Now from First Judicial District Court Judicial Assistant Billie Shadron to the attorneys involved in the case. The email gave the attorneys five minutes for them all to respond in order for Judge James Wilson Jr.'s decision to be released that evening, Thursday, October 29, 2020.

A second email noted that since not all of the parties responded, Judge Wilson’s order would be delayed to Monday, November 2, 2020. Today, October 30th is the Nevada Day state holiday, so the court is closed.

The lack of a ruling means the Clark County Registrar of Voters Office will continue to count mail in ballots.

An email notes a five minute window for lawyers to agree to the release of a court decision.
An email notes a five minute window for lawyers to agree to the release of a court decision.(Trump Victory Campaign)
An email notes that a court decision will not be released until Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.
An email notes that a court decision will not be released until Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.(Trump Victory Campaign)

ORIGINAL STORY: Ballots continue to be verified and counted in Clark County despite a lawsuit aimed to shut it down.

Today in Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson said he will have a decision soon as to whether the process should stop so that policies can be put in place to further accommodate observers watching over the ballot counting process.

The lawsuit was filed by the Trump Campaign alleging observers are not getting adequate access to ballot counting, signature verification, and duplicating ballots when needed.

Plaintiff Attorney Jesse Binnall questioned several observers, all with the Trump Campaign, who claimed they could not see all processes as needed. Some of those witnesses questioned practices they saw at both a collection center in Las Vegas, as well as the counting center known as the Greystone Building.

Observer Maria Diaz testified she saw workers approve obviously mismatched signatures on ballots. She said she was not allowed to know the names of the poll workers who were verifying signatures.

When asked if she was familiar with signature forensics which are used to train poll workers, Diaz said she was a nurse, worked with doctors and knows how to read signatures.

Another observer Virginia Stewart told the court duplicate ballots were taken into a room where the door closed behind the worker. Stewart says she was not allowed to see what happened next. And she told the court more.

“I turned back shortly thereafter and there was one woman at table 18 reading a book, and the other woman her back was to me, she was hunched over and kind of circling and writing something, I assumed they must have started the process but it wasn’t being done correctly,” said Stewart.

When cross examined Stewart said she never made a challenge even though there are protocols to do so. When asked if she thought the workers were biased, Stewart answered no.

Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria testified his office has tried to accommodate observers however he said, COVID has given him limited options. Gloria says social distancing must be recognized, and often observers have been asked to back off from elections workers as they were too close for safety and were at times disruptive.

Gloria testified to date he has received no challenges to ballots from anyone. He added there are some places where observers are not allowed as they would have access to a voter’s personal information

Wayne Thorley, former Deputy Secretary of State for Elections testified county registrars were asked to submit a plan to accommodate observers and that the deadline was April.

Thorley explained Clark County had not submitted their plan until October 20, 2020. Thorley said once the office received the plan, it was essentially no different than plans presented by other registrars throughout the state.

While plaintiffs question a ballot rejection rate of 1.35% in Clark County as too low, Thorley says it is comparable to the rejection rate in other Nevada Counties.

Binnall asked Judge Wilson to stop all ballot counting the Clark County until policies are set up to allow for observers to see all aspect of receiving, extracting, verifying, and counting ballots. Binnall claims the mail-in ballots are not subject to challenge. Meantime he said those who vote in person are. He said that creates two categories of voters.

Greg Zunino, Deputy Attorney General for the Secretary of States office told the judge, the Nevada Statue says nothing about observers watching the entire process. Zunino says in fact, the statue only addresses the observation of counting ballots.

Zunino admitted that with mail in ballots up 2300% in Clark County compared to 2016, the statue might need to be changed. But he said that is an issue that needs to be taken up by the Nevada Legislature.

Clark County Deputy District Attorney Mary-Anne Miller told the court the plaintiff has shown, “No error, no fraud by an election voter.” Miller questioned the timing of the case as she said the Trump Campaign was aware of policies, procedures and practices for quite some time.

A halt to the vote counting in Clark County could heavily impact election deadlines.

Nevada has a tight schedule after Election Day. This year registrars must canvass the vote in front of county commissioners on November 24. A Nevada Supreme Court canvass follows.

On December 14, six state electors cast their votes for a final count in the Electoral College.

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