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

On Tuesday, Nye County in southern Nevada approved an interim county clerk to oversee 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 had served as clerk for more than two decades, since January of 2000. Kampf has said he plans to use a “parallel process” of both hand counting and electronic tabulating of ballots.


Nevadans will tell you Nye County is kind of weird. It is the third largest county in the country geographically, with a military Veteran population of over 15 percent. 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 is on the November ballot as the Republican nominee for county clerk, winning his primary with more than 48 percent of the vote. 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 faces just one nonpartisan opponent in the general election, whom he is favored to beat easily in the staunchly red county.

At least seven rural and Republican-leaning counties in Nevada considered returning to paper ballots and hand counts following the 2020 election. Washoe, the state’s second most populous county, voted down a resolution after a seven-hour marathon hearing in March. That resolution included stationing Nevada National Guard at each polling location. Lawsuits from the ACLU of Nevada were anticipated had the resolution been approved.


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. Reno-based attorney and GOP primary candidate for governor Joey Gilbert will make his case about algorithms skewing tabulations of the June election, where he was reported to lose to current Clark County Sheriff and GOP nominee for governor, Joe Lombardo. Gilbert had a statewide recount conducted, at a cost of over $190,000 funded by cryptocurrency investor Robert Beadles. Both candidates lost votes in the recount with Lombardo receiving 57,808 votes in Clark County, eight votes less than originally reported, and Gilbert losing seven votes for a total 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 previously acknowledged Gilbert had the right to seek a recount but has affirmed that Joe Lombardo was the winner of the primary and is the Republican nominee for governor saying,

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


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