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Clark County Unlawfully Deleted Nevada Election Records, New Audit Claims

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Clark County violated Nevada and federal law by prematurely deleting communication records related to its voter registration lists, an audit published on Thursday claims.

In a litigation notice sent to Clark County Registrar Lorena Portillo on Tuesday, Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) asserted that Nevada’s most populous county violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and several state laws by deleting most of its election-related communications after six months.

The NVRA requires states to “maintain for at least 2 years” and “make available for public inspection … all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.” The two exceptions to this provision are documents disclosing the identity of the government department through which any specific registrant was registered and those documenting that an individual declined to register to vote.

RITE discovered the apparent issue following attempts to obtain similar documents from other Nevada election officials last year. The conservative legal group purportedly acquired “a trove of responsive Clark County records covered by the NVRA” from Washoe County and the Nevada secretary of state’s office “that were not contained within [Clark County’s] purportedly complete productions.”

The records Clark County did produce “compare unfavorably to those of Washoe County on a number of dimensions, even though the jurisdictions are similarly situated with respect to the NVRA,” RITE’s notice reads. “For example, entire classes of documents that are voluminous within Washoe County’s productions are suspiciously sparse in those of Clark County. RITE is also confident that Clark County’s productions would compare unfavorably to those of the Secretary’s Office, had RITE not permitted it to exclude from its production records reflecting its communications with county election officials, including Clark County’s.”

RITE argued the only ways such disparities can exist is if Clark County officials “withheld records [they] are obligated” to produce or “failed to maintain these records ‘for at least 2 years,'” both of which would constitute violations of the NVRA and various Nevada laws.

“RITE has identified a new disappearing act in Las Vegas, but this one is far less entertaining than a magician on the Strip,” RITE President Derek Lyons said in a statement.

While RITE said it will “work with Clark County in good faith” to obtain the requested records, the group’s lawyer, Justin Riemer, warned Portillo that RITE could file a lawsuit if the county fails to “come into full compliance with the NVRA” within 90 days. Riemer also requested Portillo disclose her office’s record retention policies and “acknowledge any unlawful record retention practices that may have affected RITE’s lawful entitlement to records covered by the Request and confirm [she has] removed and adequately modified [her] NVRA-violating protocols.”


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