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Washoe Commission to Reconsider Certification of Primary Recount

Washoe Commission to Reconsider Certification of Primary Recount

The certification of the Washoe County primary recount is back on the committee’s reconsideration agenda next week after the issue was voted down.

Commissioner Clara Andriola indicated during Tuesday’s board meeting that her conscience and the many concerns raised by public commentators about a lack of confidence in the process had led her to vote against certification.

Now she wants to look again.

“The recount of the votes will be placed on the agenda of next week’s County Commission for reconsideration at my request before this matter becomes final under our commission’s rules,” she told the RGJ in a statement.

“As this point is still under consideration, I have no further comments at this time.”

A count is an assessment of the election results in which any errors are officially noted and the official results are announced.

Commission Chair Alexis Hill said she was grateful that the county manager’s team was able to respond quickly to Andriola’s request to put the item back on the July 16 agenda.

“I think it’s really important that this is reconsidered because these are democratic norms and we need to make sure that we support everyone’s individual vote, whether we like the outcome or not,” Hill said.

About Tuesday’s board decision

In an unexpected 3-2 vote Tuesday, the board of commissioners decided not to approve recounts proposed by the voter registration department in two elections.

Andriola, along with Mike Clark and Jeanne Herman, voted against certifying the results, while Hill and Mariluz Garcia voted in favor.

The recounts were conducted for candidates Mark Lawson in Washoe County Commission District 4 and Paul White in Washoe County School Board Trustee District G, at an estimated cost of about $50,000 each. They were paid for by Republican donor Robert Beadles.

Related: Judge denies school board candidate Paul White’s request for manual recount

“It’s a little bit of uncharted territory,” Assistant District Attorney Nate Edwards said during the meeting.

Approving the vote count is generally considered a requirement under Nevada law, which states that “the board shall meet and count the results.”

When the initial primary results were announced, Deputy District Attorney Mary Kandaras called certifying the voting results a legal formality.

“So as I read this,” she said, “this is not a discretionary action. It is an action that is prescribed by law.”

After the February presidential primaries and the June general primaries, Andriola voted to approve the certification of the election results but voted against the recounts requested in the primaries.

On hearing public concerns

One of the public commentators, Kelly Stevens, who observed the recount for three days, said she saw serious problems and filed a report with the state about election integrity violations.

Andriola indicated that she wanted more time to investigate such claims.

“Election integrity complaints are reviewed by the secretary of state, not the county commission, so I was pleased that (Stevens) filed a formal complaint,” Hill said.

“Part of the joy of government is that you can go through the right process for your concerns and complaints. It’s not the time to do that during a certification.”

Mark Robison is the state politics reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal, with occasional forays into other topics. Email comments to [email protected] or comment on Mark’s Greater Reno Facebook page.