No Evidence To Support Claims Californians Fraudulently Voted In Nevada Election
Several days after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Nevada, conservative groups continue to make unproven claims about voter fraud, even suggesting that votes from Californians helped Biden win in the Silver State.
The Associated Press and other media organizations declared Biden the winner on Saturday. His margin has steadily increased to 36,000, with 97% of the votes counted as of Tuesday. Here's why AP called the state for Biden.
Last week, however, President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans in Nevada claimed without evidence that thousands of people who had moved out of Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas, had voted in the state’s presidential election.
PolitiFact rated that claim False because it’s unproven, noting that people who move within 30 days before an election can cast a vote in their prior state of residence or their new state, either in-person or by mail, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.
A Nevadan who goes to another state for college can also request a ballot and vote in the Silver State. The list provided last week by Trump’s lawyers included addresses for Americans serving overseas in the military, who are also legally allowed to vote absentee in Nevada.
This week, a conservative watchdog group called the Election Integrity Project added to the unverified allegations by claiming more than 1,400 Californians “may have unlawfully voted” in the Nevada election.
“In this disputed presidential election, it is critical that election officials, parties and candidates investigate all possible voting violations,” Election Integrity Project representative Sharron Angle said in a press release on Monday.
Trump and many Republicans have refused to accept the election results, though Democratic and Republican election administrators have rejected GOP theories about widespread voter fraud.
“Hoaxes and nonsense,” Gabriel Sterling, a lifelong Republican who works for Georgia's Republican Secretary of State and manages Georgia’s voting system said at a press conference on Monday. “Don’t buy into these things. Find trusted sources.”
Biden is ahead in Georgia by more than 12,000 votes, though the state is headed for a recount.
In its claim about fraudulent votes from California, the Election Integrity Project did not publicize its voter data. It accessed the data from the Nevada Secretary of State’s online system through an account it has with the office, according to Ellen Swensen, the organization’s chief analyst.
Swensen added in an email that the 1,400 Californians who allegedly voted in Nevada had moved out of the state or re-registered to vote in California “anywhere from 90 days to many YEARS prior to Nov 3, 2020,” meaning they did not qualify for the 30-day grace period.
Swensen said EIP presented its findings to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, but had not heard back as of Tuesday.
No Evidence Of Widespread Voter Fraud In Nevada
We asked the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office about these allegations. A spokesperson would not address them specifically, but pointed to a news release the office issued late Monday saying it “continues to investigate all credible allegations of fraud related to the 2020 general election,” though it declined to say how many.
“Many voter fraud complaints lack any evidence and are more complaints about process or policy,” the Secretary of State’s Office added in the news release. “Through these post-election processes, instances of actual or attempted fraud may come to light. If so, these instances will be thoroughly investigated.”
Nevada elections officials have not issued any findings indicating there was widespread voter fraud.
"We are not aware of any improper ballots that are being processed," Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said during a press conference Nov. 5.
‘Not Accurate And Simply Noise’
Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, described the claim that Californians may have fraudulently voted in the state in large numbers as “not accurate” and “simply noise.”
“You need to be fighting things of consequence that would suggest to me that you could somehow alter the outcome of the election,” Lokken said. “At this point in time, I haven’t heard anything other than unique or anecdotal” allegations.
Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, said the Election Integrity Project’s claim about 1,400 Californians voting in Nevada “is somewhat circumspect,” adding that she doubts the group has enough information to verify that claim.
Still, she noted that it is illegal under federal law to cast multiple ballots in a federal election and said she hopes the allegations are investigated.
When Californians sign a vote-by-mail envelope or voting roster, they “are signing under penalty of perjury and informed that it is illegal to vote twice,” Alexander wrote in an email. “Do people still do it? Some may, and it is difficult to enforce. There is no federal agency charged with this responsibility.”
In its press release, the Election Integrity Project said it was unsure whether the 1,400 individuals voted in both states.
Swenson added that the group was confident in their overall findings, but acknowledged there could be plausible explanations for why some people living in California voted in the Nevada election, as they may have moved out of state during the pandemic.
“As always, we submitted the results to the officials for investigation and it is up to them to confirm or deny wrongdoing,” she wrote in an email.
Courts in several battleground states, including Nevada, have rejected lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign and his supporters.
Last week, the Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party, for example, claimed that "irregularities have plagued the election" in Clark County, without providing evidence. They argued that the county should not be able to use a machine to verify signatures, but federal Judge Andrew Gordon rejected the request, NPR reported last week.
The Trump campaign also earlier sued unsuccessfully to stop the processing of mail ballots in Clark County.
Fred Lokken, political science professor, Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, video interview Nov. 9, 2020
Kim Alexander, president, California Voter Foundation, email interview Nov. 9, 2020
Ellen Swensen, chief analyst, Election Integrity Project, email interview Nov. 10, 2020
Election Integrity Project, Over 1,400 Californians Suspected of Voting in Nevada’s Election, Nov. 9, 2020
Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, Secretary of State Cegavske Issues Statement on Complaints of Voter Fraud, Nov. 9, 2020
PolitiFact, Fact-checking Republican claim of illegal votes in Nevada, Nov. 6, 2020
Los Angeles Times, ‘Hoaxes and nonsense’: GOP election officials in Georgia reject Trump’s unfounded fraud claims, Nov. 9, 2020
NPR, Trump Election Lawsuits Have Mostly Failed. Here's What They Tried, Nov. 10, 2020
Associated Press, EXPLAINER: Why AP called Nevada for Biden, Nov. 7, 2020
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