Nevada Secretary of State shares Nye County’s proposal to resume hand counting ballots

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 10:52 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The saga continues in Nye County as it seeks to resume hand-counting ballots. That process, which is new this election, has been on pause for more than a week due to a court challenge.

FOX5 got documents from the Secretary of State Thursday filed Wednesday by Nye County outlining their proposed, updated hand counting procedures to comply with the court and get the count going again.

Volunteers were sworn in last Wednesday at Nye County’s Ballot Tally Center before starting to count ballots by hand. FOX5 got a look at the rooms where the counting took place before the counting started.

Tables are set up for teams of five people. At the head of the table, someone to read the ballot out loud, someone sitting next to them to verify the ballot is read correctly, and three people at the other end of the table each tallying the votes.

The Nevada ACLU challenged this process in court arguing reading candidates’ names aloud from ballots within a distance of public observers violates the court’s rule that the count must be done in a way that prevents the release of early results.

The Nevada Supreme Court intervened, and the hand count was stopped the day after it started.

Now, Nye County has sent a highly detailed document to the Secretary of State outlining changes to their hand count process to comply with the court.

Instead of having teams of five volunteers working together to count votes, it would be teams of three. The ballot will no longer be read aloud. Each of the three volunteers will tally the ballots on their own while working in silence.

Nye County says the process will still be conducted in full view of the public, but observers will be positioned to avoid a clear view of votes on ballots.

Nye County tells FOX5 if their amended plan is approved, volunteers will start counting mail-in ballots again on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, a hand count for a jurisdiction the size of Nye County is unprecedented. The county has about 50,000 residents, including 33,000 registered voters.