The canvass of the results of the general election in Nye County is an agenda item that is generally “open and shut” with no discussion necessary but with the staggering amount of contention over this year’s election and numerous allegations of fraud and vote tampering, the item turned into a lengthy discussion that lasted nearly an hour during the Nye County Commission’s Monday, Nov. 16 meeting.
Throughout that time, Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo grilled Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino about a variety of details on the 2020 general election, including signature verification, undervotes and overvotes, the election systems used, whether election machines were connected to the internet in any manner and more.
Merlino was able to provide immediate answers to a majority of Blundo’s questions and took the time that afternoon to note that she felt very confident in the job her team did over the course of the election. When asked by a member of the public about the possibility of a “backdoor” into the local election systems, Merlino also stated that she felt “100%” sure that there were no instances of hackers accessing the system or interfering with the votes cast.
“This was a very different election, having a hybrid mail-in system and I definitely want to thank my workers and staff. They worked hard through this COVID pandemic. They risked exposure throughout early voting and on Election Day to have a fair and honest and nonpartisan election,” Merlino stated. She added that she takes any and all complaints and concerns regarding the election very seriously and she encouraged anyone with questions to contact her office.
As to the county’s use of Dominion Voting Systems, which President Donald Trump and others have called into question, Merlino said she couldn’t speak to that system’s usage in other states but that Nevada had been using it for many years and she did not believe there was any problem with it. If there were problems, she noted, she believed those were likely the result of errors made by election officials, rather than any issue with the system itself.
Blundo made sure to note that he was not questioning the integrity of Merlino herself but had challenges trusting the integrity of Dominion Voting Systems and was concerned about some discrepancies he had seen, namely those relating to the number of votes cast in the presidential and congressional district 4 races in Nye County, which did not add up as presented during the meeting. Merlino said she would look into those numbers, noting that she believed the discrepancies were related to overvotes, which were not included on the report.
As for the other board members, commissioner Donna Cox, though she also had questions, said she too was not worried about the job done by Merlino’s office and commissioners John Koenig, Debra Strickland and Lorinda Wichman all remarked that they had confidence in the election process as undertaken in Nye County.
The motion to certify the results of the 2020 general election passed 5-0 with Blundo asserting that his “aye” vote was “under duress.”
According to the Nevada secretary of state’s election results website www.silverstateelection.nv.gov Nevada had a total of 1,822,166 active registered voters this past election cycle. Of that amount, a record-breaking 1,407,754 votes were cast, for a total turnout of 77.26%.
In Nye County, voting turnout records were also broken. There were 34,107 active registered voters, of which 25,427 cast a ballot for the 2020 general election, a total turnout of 74.55%.
A large majority of Nye County ballots, a total of 13,844 or about 54%, were mail ballots while 8,886 were cast during early voting and 2,697 were cast on Election Day. For the state there were 671,899 mail-in votes and 577,848 votes cast during early voting. A total of 158,007 voters headed out to the polls on Election Day statewide.
In Nye County, the results of the 2020 general election were much as expected, with Republicans taking the vote in all five of the county’s partisan races. This included the presidential race, in which President Donald Trump soundly defeated former Vice President Joe Biden 69.07% to 28.72% and the race for U.S. Congressional District 4 in which former Nevada Assemblyman Jim Marchant claimed 67.29% to incumbent Steve Horsford’s 29.17%.
However, with the statewide results calculated in, those results were both firmly in the “blue” column. Biden was declared the winner of the state of Nevada at 50.06% of the vote to Trump’s 47.67% and Horsford was named the winner of the Congressional District 4 battle with 50.67% to Marchant’s 45.80%.
Incumbent Republican Nevada State Senator Pete Goicoechea of district 19 held on to his lead over Independent American opponent Tiffany Seeback, taking 75.04% of the Nye County vote and 78.52% of the district-wide vote.
Republican Nevada Assemblywoman Alexis Hansen beat out challenger Paula Povilaitis for the second election in a row, claiming 85.27% of the Nye County vote and 73.59% of the district-wide vote.
In Nye County-only races, Republican commissioner Cox secured her third and final term with a win over Independent American Party opponent Lance Roy Schaus 70.35% to 29.65%.
Both Nye County School District incumbents arose triumphant in their nonpartisan races, with Larry Small defeating Majories Ann Schaus 60.51% to 39.49% and Mark Hansen beating out Liese Peterson 68.89% to 31.11%.
Pahrump Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson keeps his nonpartisan seat following his win over Walt Grudzinski 64.22% to 35.78%.
In the nonpartisan race for Amargosa Town Board, there were five candidates and three seats available. Deborah “Morgan” Scriven, Esperanza “Hope” Budd and Debbera Mendyk were winners in this contest but Budd no longer resides in the town of Amargosa and her seat will have to be filled by appointment. That appointment is to be made by the Nye County Commission.
Results of various other races on the 2020 general election ballot can be viewed at www.silverstateelection.nv.gov
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org