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Washoe Commission Strictly Certifies Election Results, Clerk Promises Fixes After Errors

Washoe Commission Strictly Certifies Election Results, Clerk Promises Fixes After Errors

Washoe Commission Strictly Certifies Election Results, Clerk Promises Fixes After Errors

Washoe County commissioners narrowly certified the results of the 2024 primary election Friday as the acting county clerk vowed to fix voting errors for the general.

In a 3-2 vote, commissioners certified the results after hearing from many public commenters — some who questioned the results and called for a hand count and others who praised county staff and volunteers.

Voting officially ends with the primaries, meaning the results posted online are now final. Acting Clerk Cari-Ann Burgess said the election was free and fair.

“This is absolutely everyone who voted and who is eligible to vote. Yes, these are the real numbers,” she said.

But Burgess defended his office against harsh criticism from members of the public who argued the results should not be certified because of voting mistakes.

Ballots for voters in a Reno precinct were missing two Nevada legislative races and had to be reprinted. The 40th GOP Assembly District primary with PK O’Neill and Drew Ribar was absent from the ballots altogether.

Ribar himself was among many public commenters who urged the commission not to certify the results.

“You shouldn’t — you can’t — certify. You have to redo this. It’s wrong,” Ribar said, as one person in the audience shouted “election interference.”

According to the secretary of state’s office, a candidate can file a statement to contest the election no later than 14 days after the primary.

Burgess said there will be a new trial ballot system in 2026. For the November general election, she said more staff will review the ballot.

The county may also invite candidates to come in to review and correct the ballot before it is printed, a representative for the district attorney’s office said.

Burgess promised to do better for the general election.

“That’s what my staff and I follow is 100 percent perfection,” she told News 4-Fox 11 after the results were certified. “Going forward, we’ve already figured out what we did, what we can do better, and how we’re going to fix those (mistakes).”

The explanations did not satisfy Republican Commissioner Mike Clark. He and Republican Jeanne Herman voted against the cloth.

“I say the management stinks. The management is incompetent … this happens again and again,” he said.

Republican Clara Andriola joined Democrats Mariluz Garcia and Alexis Hill in voting to certify the results. Andriola acknowledged the voting errors and his concerns, but said the certification was a procedural step.

“We are not saying that everything was perfect, that there is no room for improvement. All we are saying is that these are the elections, these are the results,” Andriola said.

Burgess also faced questions about the 25,000 ballots that were returned to the clerk’s office as undeliverable. She said that is not unusual for such a transient community of our size.

If a ballot is sent to a home where a voter no longer lives, postal ballots cannot legally be sent, so they are automatically returned.

As for calls to “cleanse” voter rolls to prevent that, Burgess said she is limited by state and federal regulations that prevent her office from prematurely removing people from voter rolls.

She said people do not need to have voted in two consecutive general elections to be removed from the electoral rolls without contacting the voter, so the process can take several years.

But starting next week, the county will begin the process by sending cards to addresses where ballots were not delivered. Such cards may be legally forwarded to the voter’s new residence.

She encouraged voters who have moved in recent years to return their card to update their voter information or contact her office directly.

Watch the meeting here:

Email reporter Ben Margiott at [email protected]. Follow @BenMargiott on X and KRNV’s Ben Margiott on Facebook.