Clark, Washoe election services bombarded with requests for records by election deniers

by Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current

Poll clerks in Nevada’s two most populous counties have been inundated with public records requests seeking evidence of voter fraud and demanding confidential information about voters and poll workers, adding chaos to important election prep work in Nevada. november.

The Nevada requests mimic similar requests for information in states and counties across the country by Trump supporters, leading some officials to suspect a deliberate effort to chaotic the process and create new lines of attack on the electoral process. .

The wave of requests for time-consuming data reports has overwhelmed staff who oversee elections in Clark and Washoe counties, state election officials said.

In response, Clark and Washoe county officials said they have temporarily stopped responding to some requests for records to ensure staff can focus on administering the vote.

“They overload our staff with requests. We did our best to respond and, in some cases, indicated to those requesting information that we would not be able to assist them before the election,” said Joseph Gloria, the county’s top election official. Clark. “There is a lot of work to be done to prepare for the vote.”

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But nonstop requests for records could be “the new normal,” according to state election officials.

In Clark County, poll clerks have been bombarded with requests for cut-and-paste documents, Gloria said. His office received identical emails from different sources requesting an obscure document generated by ballot-counting machines called a “record of votes cast.”

Election deniers have recently expressed their belief that the technical paper can be used to detect fraudulent voting patterns. However, a cast vote record is essentially a receipt of everything the tabulator has scanned, displayed as a spreadsheet of ones and zeros. Experts say the data can’t be used to detect discrepancies, and it’s not particularly useful to people who aren’t researchers or auditors.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s office also reported receiving numerous identical requests for “vote records cast” in September.

Poll clerks in Clark and Washoe counties received requests for personal information about poll workers for the 2022 election, including names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and party affiliation.

“Lots of requests like that over and over again,” Gloria said, adding that he’s never seen record requests at this volume in his 30-year career. “Over 100% more than we used to get, easily.”

One such request was made by the Republican National Committee which asked for the full name, title and party affiliation of all poll workers hired for the general election in Clark County, which was denied by the election officials for security reasons. The county is now facing legal action from the RNC over that claim.

“We want to protect the privacy of our workers and make sure they’re not intimidated before they come to work,” Gloria said. “The protection of our workers is very important to us.”

Other requests asked the county to share documents already publicly available, such as images of digital ballots and voter lists, which are posted online. Gloria said her office had tried to improve transparency by making more election data available to the public, but that strategy had done little to stifle the tidal wave of requests for registrations. .

Washoe County election officials have also “seen a sharp increase in requests for public records,” many of which are “extremely time-consuming and time-consuming” to complete, said Bethany Drysdale, spokeswoman for the Washoe County Manager’s Office.

Washoe County Registrar of Electors Jamie Rodriguez walks around the county’s revamped ballot processing area, including space that would be turned into a dedicated observation area. Image: Ty O’Neil / This is Reno

In the months leading up to the election, Washoe County denied numerous requests for identical records asking for personal information about election officials, including phone numbers and addresses. The county also received identical requests for cast-vote record data.

In another lengthy request, the county was asked to provide detailed information about its renovated office, including room measurements and distance from the viewing room.

The Washoe County Registrar of Electors Department has received 1,600 requests for public registration since January, surpassing the 1,300 registration requests made the previous year. There’s been a clear upward trajectory in the number of registration requests since 2020, “the beginning of it all,” Drysdale said.

“We’ll have to refine and streamline the process on our end so that it doesn’t take so long to respond to these requests, because I think that will remain the norm,” Drysdale said.

But requests for records aren’t the only way Trump supporters have overwhelmed county clerk’s offices and disrupted security and election administration in Nevada.

In August, Gloria told the US Senate Judiciary Committee that a single person could be responsible for up to four bad faith reports a day, which her office then had to review and respond to. Gloria said the extra work “takes up a lot” of her staff’s time.

“We spoke to these people and tried to understand their concerns. We didn’t get any good answers other than to say they knew we were doing something illegal. We walked them through exactly the process of managing drop boxes etc. But it didn’t matter what explanation we had,” Gloria told senators.

In her letter to the Senate, Gloria also said her office was struggling to recruit and retain ballot administrators and other staff. Election workers in Clark County have already faced a wave of threats and intimidation, ranging from “inappropriate phone calls and emails” to fear of being followed at home.

“After two or three days, some new recruits are just overwhelmed by the level of contention,” Gloria wrote.

Despite the challenges, Gloria said he was committed to making it easier for the general public to observe the counting process. The Elections Department building is housed in a large warehouse north of Las Vegas and has undergone a rebuild since the 2020 general election, and now has glass panels throughout the counting board where observers can sit and look at each step of the process.

“We have nothing to hide,” Gloria said. “We want them to be able to see everything that’s going on.”

Elections always pose logistical and technological challenges, Gloria said. However, there are a growing number of issues beyond the control of election officials.

“One thing that concerns me is the behavior of observers at the polls,” Gloria said. “It is very difficult for us to maintain the flow of voters in our polling stations if we have observers constantly asking for information.”

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