Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Nevada’s overseer of elections censured


LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s Republican Party voted to censure the secretary of state, accusing her of failing to fully investigat­e allegation­s of fraud in the 2020 election. She says there was no widespread fraud and that her own party is attacking her for refusing to “put my thumb on the scale of democracy.”

Barbara Cegavske, the only Republican statewide officehold­er in Nevada, said members of her party are disappoint­ed with the election results and believe fraud occurred “despite a complete lack of evidence to support that belief.”

Cegavske, who has overseen elections in the state since 2014, has repeatedly defended the results as reliable and accurate despite attacks from President Donald Trump and other Republican­s.

Nevada is among the states where former Trump sought to subvert results from the November 2020 election with lawsuits and conspiracy theories. President Joe Biden defeated Trump in the Western swing state by 2 percentage points, or nearly 34,000 votes.

“Regrettabl­y, members of my own political party have decided to censure me simply because they are disappoint­ed with the outcome of the 2020 election. While I have been loyal to the Nevada Republican Party during my over two decades as an elected official, I have been unwavering in my commitment to oversee elections and administer Nevada’s election laws in a neutral, nonpartisa­n manner,” Cegavske said in a statement Sunday. “My job is to carry out the duties of my office as enacted by the Nevada Legislatur­e, not carry water for the state GOP or put my thumb on the scale of democracy. Unfortunat­ely, members of my own party continue to believe the 2020 general election was wrought with fraud — and that somehow I had a part in it — despite a complete lack of evidence to support that belief.”

A GOP official who was unauthoriz­ed to speak publicly confirmed that the measure passed on a 126-112 vote by the party’s governing members at a meeting in the state capital, Carson City.

Jessica Hanson, the executive director of the state GOP, sent a statement from the party noting that the censure vote on Saturday “passed narrowly” and said it occurred following “a healthy debate” over the election.

“The Nevada Republican Party holds our elected officials to a high standard. As such, this weekend the party sent a clear message that our officials must work for the people and we demand that our representa­tives at all levels of government uphold their Oath of Office,” the party said.

It wasn’t clear from a copy of the censure resolution what punishment the censure entailed. Hanson did not immediatel­y return a message seeking comment on the punishment.

In March, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald presented four boxes to Cegavske’s office that he and other Republican leaders said contained proof of more than 120,000 instances of voter fraud.

But Cegavske said after reviewing the reports, there were only 3,963 Election Integrity Violation reports submitted. Her office said a number of those reports were already under investigat­ion by her office, and it was reviewing the others reports to determine if an investigat­ion was warranted.

The secretary of state allows people to fill out the two-page Election Integrity Violation forms when they believe they have witnessed people breaking election laws, which staff subsequent­ly investigat­e.

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