Nevada Secretary of State champions mail-in ballots despite criticism

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 4:17 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -“Public Interest Legal Foundation” is not a fan of mail-in voting. In their literature they say it causes chaos and allows the U.S. Postal Service to run our elections.

Their findings on Nevada’s mail-in elections in 2022 come as no surprise to political science professor Fred Lokken.

“You are working with really distorted information,” says Lokken. “You are starting from a position of wanting to find problems. And you are amplifying and distorting of what you can find as data. And painting it in a way where you can be destructive.”

The Foundation claims 1.2 million ballots were sent out to voters statewide and not returned to officials.

Nevada’s Secretary of State’s Office believes the number is much lower than that. That’s because some voters may have chosen to vote in person. In Nevada they bring their unmarked mail-in ballot with them or sign an affidavit stating they have not mailed in that ballot. And some voters the Secretary of State says may have chosen not to vote at all, which is their right.

Other numbers released by the Foundation, nearly 96,000 ballots were returned or undeliverable. This the Secretary of State’s Office says reflects Nevada’s transitory nature. They say 15% of voter rolls were updated with new residential or mailing address in a two-year period alone.

“As is quite obvious, as a state we move around a lot,” says Lokken. “Not necessarily that people leave the state, but they don’t keep the address for very long.” Finally, 8,036 ballots were rejected because they did not meet the requirements to be accepted.

The Foundation points out that Senator Catherine Cortez Masto retained her post by less than eight thousand votes last year against Adam Laxalt.

Secretary Aguilar’s Office says this number shows the system is working. Lokken adds, registrar offices called voters to let them know what they had to do to “cure” their ballot.

“Missing the signature,” says Lokken as an example for a call. “They have the contact information unless the person has not updated their information. “They try as diligently as they can to contact those individuals. And once they do to indicate they have x number of days to come down; show us an id. show us your signature whatever to be able to make sure that ballot counts.”

The Foundation claims $2,000,000 dollars or more in tax dollars is spent on bad ballots or ballots that were never returned.

Lokken counters by saying the solution may be for Nevada to go the way of Oregon and Colorado. Mail in balloting for all elections he says would save on early and same day voting locations and personnel.