Nevada County Appoints Clerk to Use Paper Ballots, Hand Counts as Election Challenge Heads to Court – Opinion

Nye County approved Tuesday the appointment of Mark Kampf as interim clerk for overseeing the 2022 general Election. Mark Kampf was appointed by the Nye County Commission in a 4-1 vote to complete the term of Sandra “Sam” Merlino, who resigned after the commission voted to ditch electronic machines and moved to hand counting with paper ballots. Merlino was a clerk since 2000, more than 20 years. Kampf has said he plans to use a “parallel process” of both hand counting and electronic tabulating of ballots.

Nevadans can tell you Nye County. It’s kinda weird.The county is third in size geographically and has a population of more than 15 percent military veterans. They have done stranger things than cancel voting machines — they once elected a brothel owner, Dennis Hof, to the state assembly weeks after he had died.

Kampf was elected the Republican nominee for the office of county clerk and won with over 48 percent. While running his primary race, he served as temporary county Treasurer, a position he resigned to be considered for appointment to the clerk’s office. Kampf will face only one nonpartisan opponent. He is likely to defeat him easily in the red-saturated county.

Seventeen Republican-leaning Nevada counties, including seven in rural areas, considered returning to paper ballots after the 2020 elections. Washoe, the state’s second most populous county, voted down a resolution after a seven-hour marathon hearing in March. The resolution required the Nevada National Guard to be stationed at all polling locations. If the resolution was approved, it would have been possible to anticipate ACLU of Nevada lawsuits.

In response to the localities opting to move to hand-counted paper ballots, the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office will be holding a virtual workshop on August 12 seeking public input on proposed regulations for tabulating ballots by hand, leading to a virtual hearing on August 26.

Also scheduled for August 12  is the trial for a primary election challenge in the Nevada governor’s race. Joey Gilbert, a Reno-based lawyer and GOP primary candidate, will present his case regarding algorithms that skew tabulations in the June election. He was reported to have lost to Joe Lombardo, Clark County Sheriff, and GOP nominee for Governor. Gilbert underwent a state recount, which cost more than $190,000. It was funded by Robert Beadles, a cryptocurrency investor. Lombardo in Clark County received 57.808 votes, eight more than the original report, while Gilbert was defeated by seven votes, for a total vote count of 29,468. Ironically, Nye is just one of three counties in the state that Gilbert didn’t win, while the county commission displays distrust for the election processes.

State GOP Chairman Michael McDonald acknowledged Gilbert’s right to request a recount. However, McDonald has confirmed that Joe Lombardo won the primary.

“The election is over. It’s been called. Joe Lombardo won. We need to come together and unite.”

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