Nevada’s Election System Suffers Accuracy Problems

Nevada’s Election System Suffers Accuracy Problems



Nevada uses an electronic system to record votes, and the integrity of the system suffers problems with accuracy, accountability, and security. With the November 2016 election looming, there has been a request for an audit of the votes cast in the June primary.

According to Robert E. Frank, Colonel, USAF (Ret.) with the Citizen Task Force for Voter’s Rights, the machines are not designed to be secure. The manufacturers do not offer a security for their equipment, and the software information is not unbreachable. Frank stated the task force is concerned that there is no state audit performed after the elections have taken place.

Fraud has been an abundant factor in the political arena in Nevada. Many voters and candidates think that the accuracy of the voting system is also part of the problem. They are seeking an accounting of the votes cast in June.

The U.S. Code: Title 42; Chapter 146 Election Administration Improvement; Subchapter III – Uniform and Nondiscriminatory Election Technology and Administration Requirements, outlines the voting systems standards. The voter has the right to see the physical accounting of the votes tallied, on software, mail-in and absentee ballots cast. Citizens may also request an audit of the accounting of the votes cast and the records that reflect those numbers.

The following candidates in Nevada filed a Statement of Contest against the County Registrar of Voters and the County Clerk: Tina Trenner AD 36, Blain Jones AD 21, Steve Sanson AD 13, Connie Foust AD 19, Mary Rooney AD 41, and Diana Orrock AD 09.

While no candidate is alleging fraud, they are requesting the voting system is opened to them, as is their right. They want to compare the paper and electronic results of the votes cast. Furthermore, there are questions about the security of the electronic units used at the polling sites including the chain of custody, third party vendors, storage, and who has access to the units, the mail-in and absentees ballots.

The National Committee for Voting Integrity (NCVI), offers the following recommendations for handling the electronic voting machines and backup solutions in the event of mechanical failure:

  • Carefully document any vendors and person who have third party access to the voting technology during the period prior to, the day of, and post-election.
  • Establish and secure a paper ballot backup should the machines fail to work correctly.
  • Document chain of custody of the technology and paper ballots.
  • Create and use a method to detect physical tampering of the voting machines.
  • Provide adequate privacy for voting stations.
  • Allow polling site observers access to the site during hours of operation and the tabulation process. These representatives should also be present during the set-up and operational testing of the machines.
  • Have a trained representative/a poll worker available in the event a unit should fail and require recalibration.
  • Have on hand an adequate supply of provisional ballots for state and federal elections. Also, a paper ballot should be available for voters who choose not to use the electronic system.
  • Instruct poll workers the proper use of and handling provisional and paper ballots.
  • At the end of the election provide statistics by each polling location and precinct. Stats should include the total number of attempts to vote, the number of votes cast, the number of undervotes by race, and the spoiled ballots and provisional ballots as applicable.

By all accounts, the citizens have the right to review all aspects of the voting process for each election cycle. The registrar of voters for the counties and states have the responsibility to provide adequate security and to account for the machines and software used as well as any paper documents used to secure ballots from its citizens.

Cathy Milne

Sources: Federal Election Laws, Results, and Voting History
Interview: Robert E. Frank, Colonel, USAF (Ret.); May 27, 2016
District Court Civil Court Documents: Tina Trenner, Blain Jones, Steve Sanson, Connie Foust, Mary Rooney, Tony Baca, and Diana Orrock
Virginia Information Technologies Agency: Security Assessment of Winvote Voting Equipment for Departments of Elections; April 14, 2015
National Committee for Voting Integrity: Securing the Vote Project; Recommendations for Paperless DRE Voting Machines

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