Washoe Commission shelves Big Lie-fueled election proposal

By: - February 21, 2022 3:23 pm

(Washoe County photo)

Washoe County Commissioners won’t hear a controversial resolution that called for using the National Guard at polling sites and ballots to be hand counted at its Tuesday meeting, but the proposal could reappear at a later date. 

In a statement Monday, Washoe County Commission Chair Vaughn Hartung and Vice Chair Alexis Hill said the item was being removed from the upcoming meeting because it violated Nevada’s Open Meeting Law. 

Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks wrote that the resolution “was submitted the day before the agenda deadline by a commissioner and did not go through the customary agenda review process.” 

“As a result, the agenda item description does not match the resolution that has been submitted for possible approval and does not adequately describe the possible action to be taken,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, the agenda item is removed from tomorrow’s agenda and may be resubmitted at a later date.”

The proposal was introduced by Republican Washoe County Commissioner Jeanne Herman, and would have required only Washoe County residents to be poll workers, authorized the use “stealth paper ballots,” called on the National Guard to be present at polling locations, required “fair opportunities for observation” and asked for ballots to be hand counted.

Herman told the Reno Gazette Journal that while she didn’t have concerns about previous elections she was responding to concerns brought up during a Feb. 8 commission meeting. 

During hours of public comment members of the Washoe County Republican Party were among numerous people saying, without evidence, they had concerns about “election integrity” and widespread voting fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, did a review of the 2020 election and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Those still arguing for stricter voting and election requirements haven’t produced evidence to support claims of broad voting irregularities.

The proposed resolution received substantial pushback from groups including the ACLU of Nevada, Silver State Voices, and All Voting is Local who said the measure was unconstitutional. 

“This resolution will only negatively impact access to the ballot, and we urge the county commission to reject these measures and uphold the freedom to vote for all Nevadans,” Kerry Durmick, the Nevada State Director for All Voting is Local, said in a statement last week.

In an interview, Durmick warned Washoe’s proposal won’t be the only restriction seen at a local level ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.