Nevada’s Election Transparency Problems Mount as Observers Report Limited Access


Nevada’s election laws are touted as some of the most transparent in the country, but a recent review by the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Election Protection Project suggests that the Clark County Elections Department is falling short of that promise. In 2022, the department made strides towards transparency by allowing signature verification to be displayed on an overhead projector, but those efforts seem to have stalled in 2024.

The Election Protection Project sent observers to the Clark County central count facility during the 2024 primary elections, but their access was severely limited. They were confined to a small room behind glass, unable to move around or ask questions without being escorted by two elections staff members. The observers were also not allowed to take a tour of the facility before Election Day.

Furthermore, the department’s use of an Agilis machine to verify ballot signatures has raised concerns. While the machine is designed to analyze whether signatures match or not, its verification settings can affect the accuracy of the process. In 2024, election officials admitted to keeping the machine settings light in order to send more ballots to human review boards, but the partisan composition of those boards has been called into question.

The boards, which are supposed to be “bipartisan,” often consisted of only one Democrat and one Republican, or one Democrat and one independent. The observers also witnessed panels operating with only one board member present. The lack of transparency surrounding the partisan identity of the temporary workers hired to serve on the boards has raised further concerns.

As Nevada prepares to vote on a constitutional amendment that would require photo identification to vote and new signature verification requirements, election officials would do well to prioritize transparency and accountability. The proposed changes, which have been adopted in other states, could provide increased security and eliminate the need for opaque signature verification boards.

The Nevada secretary of state’s decision to allow registrars to begin tabulating votes at 8 a.m. on election day, rather than waiting until polls close at 7 p.m., could also improve the reporting timeline and alleviate concerns about delayed results. However, observers would need to be present at the tabulation centers earlier and all day, rather than being limited to a specific time slot.

Ultimately, voters should be encouraged by the proposed changes, but election officials must do more to increase transparency and accountability in the electoral process. Without meaningful access to the election process, voters cannot have confidence that their votes will be counted fairly.

Byron Fisher
Byron Fisher
Byron Fisher is the Chief of Staff of the Election Protection Project and a research analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Byron worked as the Deputy National Election Integrity Director at the Republican National Committee during the 2022 election cycle. Byron graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

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