weather icon Clear

Nevada Secretary of State has final say in calling statewide recount

CARSON CITY — A recount of ballots in select precincts from five Nevada counties sought by a last-place presidential contender will not automatically trigger a statewide recount, even if the stipulated one percent discrepancy is found, a state election official said Wednesday.

Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, who came in dead last in Nevada with 2,552 votes in the Nov. 8 general election, filed for a recount Tuesday just minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline to do so. He paid a fee of $14,154.98 to finance the effort to recount ballots in 93 precincts, or 5 percent of the total.

Under state law, if a discrepancy of 1 percent or more is found in either the votes received by the person requesting the recount or the person who won — Democrat Hillary Clinton in this case — a new counting of all ballots cast in that race can be ordered. But it is not mandatory or automatic.

“State law gives the secretary of state some discretion on when a person who requests a recount is entitled to a full statewide recount,” elections deputy Wayne Thorley said. “The secretary of state will need to review the results of the sample recount of 93 precincts before making any decisions on a full statewide recount.”

The precincts chosen by De La Fuente include two each in Carson City and Douglas, Mineral and Nye counties, with the rest in Southern Nevada’s Clark County.

A review of returns by the Review-Journal shows that De La Fuente received a combined 202 votes in those precincts. Should the recount of those sample precincts result in a difference of just three votes to his total, all of Nevada’s presidential ballots could be subject to a new tallying — an effort that could take about five days and cost an estimated $50,000.

But the final determination would be made by Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who would consider whether the effort could change the election’s outcome and is thereby warranted.

Clinton won Nevada with more than 539,000 votes, or 47.9 percent. Republican President-elect Donald Trump received 512,000 votes, or 45.5 percent.

De La Fuente’s total amounted to 0.23 percent of votes cast and even trailed “None of these candidates” by more than 26,000 votes.

In a phone interview Wednesday, he said he expects the vote totals to change, but he doesn’t expect to win the election.

In selecting precincts for the recount, De La Fuente said, “I picked all the districts where I suspect election fraud and election manipulation.”

“I’m very, very concerned,” he added, alleging votes were stolen from him in Nevada and other states.

De La Fuente’s Nevada recount comes amid similar efforts filed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Republicans have scoffed at the recounts, and Trump has called the effort a “scam.”

De La Fuente ran and lost in the Democratic primary, then ran in the general election in various states as an independent or the nominee of the Reform Party and American Delta Party.

The secretary of state’s office formally notified election officials in the Nevada counties of the recount demand. Those counties have five days to start their new tallying, which will involve retabulating cartridges from the electronic voting machines and scanning absentee ballots.

They then have five days to complete the task and report the results to the secretary of state.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business owner seeking toy donations for kids

A local man, along with his brother, are working to put smiles on children’s faces just in time for the Christmas season.

Angel Tree program accepting applications until Oct. 31

Each December as the year comes to a close, households all around the country begin to prepare for the most wonderful time of the year, the Christmas season, with boughs of holly, strings of garland, bright, cheerful lights and of course, Christmas trees festooned with decorations, all in anticipation of Christmas morning when children will race to unwrap presents and delight over the gifts they have received. But for families who may be facing financial troubles, the joy of the season can be lost in the burden of trying to find a way to put those presents under the tree.

Pahrump Fairgrounds detention basin contract awarded

Construction crews will be heading out to the Pahrump Fairgrounds sometime in the near future to undertake the next step in development at the site, with a detention basin and drainage ditches to set the stage for what is envisioned to one day become a major recreational destination in the valley.

Death Valley campgrounds now open for visitors

As cooler temperatures descend upon the Southwest, officials at Death Valley National Park recently announced the start of camping season.

Aviation art contest open to state’s youth

The Nevada Department of Transportation is inviting Nevada schoolchildren to participate in the National Association of State Aviation Officials’ art contest celebrating the ways in which aviation, hang gliding, hot air ballooning and other air sports connect people across the world.

Unemployment claims rise again, continued claims fall

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced Friday that initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 8,964 for the week ending Oct. 10, up 1,023 claims, or 12.9%, compared to last week’s total of 7,941 claims.

Registration now open for Poetry Out Loud contest

Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the Nevada Arts Council is proud to announce the 2021 Nevada Poetry Out Loud competition.

Extension town halls focus on PETS program grants

A new grant program opened Friday, making $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds available to Nevada businesses and some other organizations. The University of Nevada, Reno Extension will focus on explaining this program, the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support Grant, at its next online town hall to support small businesses across the state during the pandemic.

DETR taps Casselman for deputy director post

Jenny Casselman has been named as deputy director of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Casselman’s official first day was Monday, Oct. 12.

State sends plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to CDC

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public and Behavioral Health announced Friday the submission of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Playbook for Statewide Operations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.