More ballots were rejected than the margin of victory in Nevada’s contested U.S. Senate race, a new report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) outlines.
According to data from Nevada’s Secretary of State: 95,556 ballots were sent to undeliverable addresses, 8,036 were rejected by election officials, and 1.2 million ballots were never returned to be counted.
To put the figures in perspective, Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican challenger Adam Laxalt by 7,928 votes — less than the 8,036 ballots rejected upon receipt by election officials.
To determine whether a ballot is authentic, Nevada processes them via signature verification. This means election officials compare signatures on file to those on return envelopes to determine whether ballots are accepted. Such a system has a lot of room for human error, however. This past midterm election season, for example, a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist tricked election officials into accepting six ballots with his signature (this is why states like Minnesota and Florida also require the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number on return envelopes so they’re not solely relying on signature verification to determine legitimacy).
Nevada is one of eight states that allow all elections to be conducted by mail. While the Silver State originally allowed a temporary expansion of vote-by-mail during the 2020 general election over coronavirus concerns, in 2021, then-Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak made it the permanent law of the land, requiring election officials to send out mail-in ballots to all of the state’s registered voters.
As such, Nevada is a warning sign to other states considering the switch to all-mail elections. With 1.2 million ballots still missing from the 2022 midterms with no chain of custody, it’s safe to say the public will never know how many ballots were discarded, delivered to the wrong address, or stolen from the proper recipient. PILF noted that Nevada even wasted more than $2 million on ballots that were sent to bad addresses or never returned.
“Mass-mail elections disenfranchise,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a statement. “Nevada can do a better job in reducing rejected ballots. Auto mass-mail will continue to waste money and disenfranchise voters until it is fixed.”
Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll.
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