Nye County Wins Lawsuit Against ACLU of Nevada, Continues Hand Counting Ballots

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Editor’s Note/Update [5:16 p.m. EST, 11/17/22]: In the original version of this article, we wrote:

There are some indications that the hand counts will continue after the “deadline.” 


Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf has clarified to RedState that the hand counts will not continue after this evening’s deadline, as the ballots are required to be sealed by law and will go into a vault.


Nevada’s rural Nye County is the epicenter of election speculations and legal battles. After losing an early legal challenge, Nye County has won the most recent bout. But, it ain’t over yet. 

In late October, during the Early Voting period, Nye County was ordered by the Secretary of State to halt hand counts of ballots after the state Supreme Court issued a ruling. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada sued after the first day of vote counting with concerns that observers could hear tallies and results could be leaked to the public earlier than the state law permits. As a result, Nye was prevented from resuming hand counts until after the polls closed on Election Day while working with the SOS toward a new plan for compliance.

Earlier this year, Nye County decided to use a parallel tabulation method, where votes are counted by machinery and then tabulated by hand counts. The ALCU of Nevada has been in opposition, not only in Nye but in other counties considering similar resolutions. 


On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court rejected the ALCU of Nevada’s request to, again, stop the hand counts. ACLU argued, alongside the Brennan Center for Justice in an emergency motion on Monday, that the hand counts constituted an illegal audit. The court noted the hand count and process were approved by the SOS and not expressly prohibited by state law. The motion was unanimously rejected by the high court.

There is a “deadline” of Thursday evening in place ahead of the certification of the vote totals from Nye and it does not appear that the hand counts will be finished in that timeframe. The mechanical tabulations will be used for Nye’s official results. There are some indications that the hand counts will continue after the “deadline.” 

The ACLU’s legal actions resulting in not being able to count ballots ahead of the close of polls on Election Day are being touted as a reason the hand counts will not be completed ahead of certification. 


Nye County officials issued a statement:

“Nye County is pleased with yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling and looks forward to completing the hand count as approved by the Secretary of State. Although the County has been happy to follow the guidance from and respect the decisions of the Supreme Court, it seems as if the ACLU holds itself to a different standard. So, we are glad the Court has invalidated this most recent attempt to thwart the hand count, given the Court had clearly indicated previously that crafting a compliant hand count process was something for the County and the Secretary of State to work out (and not the ACLU).”

Regarding what has been learned or discovered from the parallel tabulation process, if there are discrepancies found and what action will be taken next is yet to be known. Eyes from across the nation will be focused on rural Nye County in what is to come next. 


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