Nevada high court to hear Las Vegas-area election case

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Wade Vandervort

Ross Miller attends his first meeting after being sworn in as a Clark County Commissioner at the Clark County Government Center, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Published Mon, Apr 5, 2021 (12:28 p.m.)

Updated Mon, Apr 5, 2021 (5:30 p.m.)

The Nevada Supreme Court is due to hear arguments Wednesday about a county commission election decided last November by 15 votes, and a bid for a do-over by the Republican candidate who refused to concede that he came up short.

Ross Miller, a Democrat and former Nevada secretary of state, was sworn in to the powerful Clark County Commission in January, over objections by Stavros Anthony, a Las Vegas City Councilman and former Las Vegas police captain whose campaign funded an $80,000 recount.

County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria initially reported a 10-vote margin for Miller over Anthony, and told the commission his office had identified 139 vote “discrepancies” among more than 153,000 ballots cast in the Miller-Anthony race.

Gloria said discrepancies are common in elections, such as inadvertently canceled votes and voter check-in errors at polling places, and not related to fraud.

The recount identified five additional votes for Miller.

The commission members, all Democrats, considered calling a new election, but Miller sued to force them to certify the result and a state court judge in Las Vegas denied Anthony’s request to issue an order calling for a revote.

Attorneys for Anthony, led by Mark Hutchison, a former state lieutenant governor, argue before the state high court that the election was “prevented” under terms of state election law.

“The election in this case is not conclusive because of discrepancies that are irreconcilable,” they argue in written filings to the state high court. “No one knows who won this race.”

Miller’s attorneys, including Bradley Schrager and Dominic Gentile, responded that the election was not prevented, the 139 discrepancies amount to clerical errors and it doesn’t matter if the victory margin was 15 votes or a landslide.

They added that the county commission's role certifying the election result was ministerial, not discretionary. The seven-member commission is the legal body with jurisdiction over the Las Vegas Strip and the county home to a majority of the state's residents.

The matter is “essentially moot,” the attorneys said in written filings, asking justices to uphold the decisions by Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.

They noted that Miller was sworn in after Anthony chose to ask for a recount and did not file a legal contest of the election.

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