Nevada judge won’t block certifying election, rejects revote


Steve Marcus

Jim Marchant, Republican candidate for Nevada Congressional District 4, speaks during a Republican Watch Party at the South Point on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Published Fri, Nov 20, 2020 (2:43 p.m.)

Updated Fri, Nov 20, 2020 (6:38 p.m.)

Click to enlarge photo

Congressman Steven Horsford, D-Nev., responds to a question during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun offices in Henderson Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019.

A Nevada judge declined Friday to block statewide certification of the Nov. 3 election or order a do-over in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County for a Republican congressional candidate who lost by nearly 5% to an incumbent Democrat.

The rulings in separate cases by Clark County District Judge Gloria Sturman followed a rehash of arguments rejected in other states and federal courts about vote-by-mail and ballot counts.

They did not affect other legal actions pending in Nevada before Sturman and other judges, including a key election challenge by attorneys for President Donald Trump's campaign.

That case aims to nullify the Nevada election or have the Republican president declared the winner despite tallies showing that of the more than 1.4 million votes cast, President-elect Joe Biden, the Democrat, won by approximately 2.4%, or more than 33,000 votes.

A hearing in that case is scheduled Dec. 1 before a judge in Carson City.

In Las Vegas, Sturman rejected as “a really extreme request” the bid by conservative former Nevada lawmaker Sharron Angle and her voting watchdog group, the Election Integrity Project of Nevada, to block certification results of the statewide election.

The state Supreme Court has scheduled that action next Tuesday.

Angle’s attorney, Joel Hansen, called it obvious that fraud would occur after Democratic state lawmakers approved sending vote-by-mail ballots to every active registered voter in Nevada in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He pointed to cardboard boxes that he said contained hundreds of accounts collected by project volunteers knocking on doors in the Reno and Las Vegas areas. He projected up to 8,000 people who should not have voted in Nevada cast ballots.

“We have this small sampling,” he said.

“Stop right there," the judge said. "Where do you have fraud?”

“Assuming that I agree that’s an illegal vote," she said. “You are asking, as a preliminary matter, to throw out 1 million, 400 thousand votes on the chance that somewhere from 250 to 8,000 people voted that should not have?”

“Well, how much fraud is too much, your honor?” Hansen replied.

In a separate hearing, Sturman pointed to a 33,000-vote margin that Jim Marchant would have to make up to overtake U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford in the state’s most populous and Democratic-leaning county, and said she lacked jurisdiction to order do-overs in six other counties in the congressional district.

Marchant and his attorney, Craig Mueller, didn’t immediately respond to messages about whether they will appeal.

Sturman is due on Monday to hear a similar request by Mueller for a revote on behalf of Dan Rodimer, a GOP candidate who lost his bid for Congress by nearly 3% to Democratic U.S. Rep. Susie Lee in a district wholly including Clark County.

In both cases, Mueller alleges misconduct by election officials, an inability to track mailed ballots and that the use of an optical scanning machine to validate voter signatures was improper.

Attorneys for Clark County and the state and national Democratic parties said similar arguments were rejected by state and federal judges.

“These issues have been aired and litigated extensively,” said Kevin Hamilton, an attorney representing the Democrats. “This is not a close election.”

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