LAS VEGAS – The last early voting weekend here was mostly sunny with tidy lines and social distancing from most residents, but Clark County Registrar of Electors Joseph Gloria saw problems at the horizon.
Gloria, whose office is charged with ensuring an orderly vote and an accurate tally in the craziest presidential year in memory, calls the same scene part of a “perfect storm” riddled with poll flouting the rules and some voters refusing to wear a mask amid a deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Spurred on by the surge in COVID-19 infections, a statewide expedited postal voting option, and presidential prevarication over the potential for voter fraud, Gloria’s usual election concerns are now complicated by multiple lawsuits filed by the Trump team who appear to be aiming to scramble a voting process the Registrar’s team worked months to tweak.
“I’m as comfortable as I can get because I have a great staff,” Gloria said. He also has three decades of electoral experience and has been a registrar since 2013. Having set up a whole postal voting system in less than 90 days, “We learned some things in elementary school and we feel good about this cycle. , but unfortunately we have people at the national level encouraging people to do things that disrupt the polling station and make it difficult for us to process the votes.
He does not mention any names, but President Donald Trump’s irrational mail-order rhetoric, fomenting right-wing extremist activity, and minimizing mask wear are clearly not lost on Gloria. Attempts to suppress voters take many forms. He underlined the increased presence of overly aggressive poll observers who crossed the line between observing the process and stopping it.
Rather than have the anti-masks removed, and in an effort to avoid yet another trial at a time when the Republican Party fights a legal battle in its voter suppression efforts, Gloria has instead separated the recalcitrant from the great majority willing to follow the rules.
“We have them in just about every place and at one time or another,” says Gloria. “We don’t want to deprive these people of their rights, so we allow them to come and vote, but they have to vote on a socially distant machine.
Of even greater concern is the disruption of the voting process by pro-election observers. “They don’t follow observer rules,” says Gloria. “It has been more difficult this year than ever.”
Is it an organized effort?
“I would definitely say it,” Gloria said.
Although Nevada’s presidential election has resulted in two lawsuits on behalf of the president, the Trump team has so far failed to gain much court ground. The first electoral fraud trial was so lacking in fact that it was quickly dismissed. A second was filed on Friday and was aimed directly at Gloria’s registrar’s office.
Just hours after Trump’s campaign and the Nevada Republican Party alleged that the Clark County mail-in vote tally should be stopped due to insufficient “observation”, Carson City Judge James Wilson , refused to grant a temporary restraining order. The lawsuit names Gloria and Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske as defendants.
Among the complainants is Fred Kraus, a “volunteer poll observer”, who The Nevada Independent reported appears to be a former vice president and general counsel for The Venetian, a casino resort owned by multibillion-dollar GOP donor Sheldon Adelson. Wilson has scheduled an evidence hearing for Wednesday morning, October 28.
The electoral process is not perfect, but a loophole does not constitute fraud. The electoral lists are regularly updated, but the distribution of ballots is not without problems. After voting in person early on a well-organized site set up in a parking lot at a suburban Green Valley shopping mall, Rita Carrillo says her home received a postal vote for her father, who has been deceased for four years. Receiving the ballot was a mistake; Throwing it away would have been a fraud. Like the vast majority of people, she simply followed the rules.
“We were concerned about the potential for fraud,” Carrillo said, but she found her own experience, “very brief, better than last year. Everyone has practiced social distancing. I think everyone was conscientious about cleanliness.
More than any fear of fraud or viruses, Carrillo and his voting partner Dalton Sackrell agreed they just wanted to “make sure we have the right person in power.”
That sentiment echoed miles away at another early voting site assembled in a mall parking lot about a mile from the Strip. There, Vincent Booker and his mother, Tina Carter, voted in person to make sure nothing was lost or delayed. Any concerns they had about harassment by extremist groups or exposure to COVID-19 were more than outweighed by the gravity of the election.
“I just don’t like Trump. I certainly didn’t want my vote to be wasted. I just think we need to make a change.“
– Vincent booker
“I just don’t like Trump,” Booker said, saying the president lacks empathy in times of crisis. “I absolutely did not want my vote to be lost. I just think we need to make a change. “
Carter brought a different perspective to the voting booth. “There is an emergency,” she said. “My thing is the pandemic. I think it could have been managed a lot better. I’m a contact tracer, so I manage the exhibits and the positive outcomes, and I feel like the president has let us down as Americans, and I need to see a change.
There were no crowds at the East Las Vegas Senior Center, which is in a heavily Latin neighborhood. All other concerns aside, the seniors wanted to avoid large gatherings. Through the interpretation of his daughter Norma Lopez, Fidel Lopez says in Spanish: “Being there early is better. I was worried about the crowds for health reasons.
Beyond health concerns, the opinions of many who voted early argue that the defamation by the President of the U.S. Postal Service and postal voting backfired and only inspired people to turn themselves around. get to the polls early.
“I just felt that, for this election, I wanted to vote in person.“
– Marie hansen
At a North Las Vegas recreation center, mother of four Marie Hansen waited 45 minutes to vote and spent the time socializing, masked and from a distance, with her neighbors. The Trump administration’s rhetoric of disrupting and even dismantling the postal service was all the encouragement it needed. She voted by mail in the primary, but she says, “I just felt that, for this election, I wanted to vote in person.”
Southern Nevada has a growing Latino and Asia-Pacific population, and the community continues to merge into one of the most ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the West.
Although Nevada’s active labor movement, led by the 60,000 members of UNITE-HERE / Culinary Local 226, has combined with a well-organized Democratic Party campaign machine to transform the state from an increasingly blue hue , the Trump campaign has demonstrated an energetic field game he believes. keeps the state in play.
Trump and Biden have each visited the state recently, and their camps continue to send high-level representatives to strengthen their models of participation. Vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris has scheduled campaign stops Tuesday in Reno and Las Vegas.
In the parking lot of the Galleria Mall in Henderson, the Aquino family made voting a family affair. Mother Jennifer Aquino captured the sentiment shared by all: “I absolutely did not want my ballot to be lost in the mail and I wanted to make sure it was there on time.”
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