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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Proposed initiative targets election security in Clark County but some portions could violate the law

Petition seeks post-election audits and more security, including cameras, at drop boxes

By Shari Phiel, Columbian staff writer
Published: December 21, 2023, 6:37pm

A proposed Clark County initiative would require post-election audits and enhanced security at ballot drop boxes, among other changes. Elections officials, however, say parts of the initiative may conflict with state and federal law.

Rob Anderson on Tuesday filed the proposed Restore Election Confidence initiative with the Clark County Elections Office, which forwarded it to the county prosecuting attorney’s office for legal review and a ballot title. Then, Anderson will need to gather roughly 27,000 signatures by June 8 to get it on the November ballot.

The initiative would prohibit “fake ballots” from being sent or counted and require 85 percent of all ballots to be processed and tallied by the end of Election Day. The initiative also calls for security cameras at ballot drop locations, as well as the cleanup of voter registration rolls 30 days before ballots are mailed.

If voters approve the initiative in November, it calls for all the measures to be in place by the next election.

To Learn More

The full text of the Restore Election Confidence initiative is available at http://tinyurl.com/yess877u.

Funding to implement the changes would come from the election office’s existing budget. Any additional funding would be approved by the Clark County Council. However, the initiative states that “no new taxes or fees shall be proposed or adopted as a source of funding.”

Anderson of Reform Clark County raised concerns about the county’s elections process during the Clark County Council’s Dec. 5 regular meeting.

“We have an election crisis here in Clark County,” Anderson told the council. “In the last election, we had a 26 percent voter participation, which is just terrible.”

Anderson said the low voter turnout is due to a lack of trust and confidence in the election process.

“No matter where you sit on this, whether you think there’s big problems or if there’s not big problems, I think we can all agree there’s a perception of a problem,” he said.

County Auditor Greg Kimsey said some of the changes proposed would be difficult and expensive to implement and others may be prohibited by state and federal law.

For example, specific conditions must be met before voters can be removed from the voter registration database.

“If a registered voter moves and we don’t get any information from either the U.S. Postal Service or the voter that they have and/or have possibly changed their name, we do not have the ability to update the voter registration record to reflect that,” Kimsey said in an interview Thursday.

Kimsey said he previously told the county council he would support placing security cameras at ballot drop boxes, but the council did not move forward with it. He also said there are voter privacy concerns to consider before placing cameras in ballot processing areas.

Kimsey said the elections office renovation and expansion project approved by the council this year will improve transparency and provide greater opportunities for public oversight.