Does Nevada Election Law Even Count, And Who’s In Charge?
Nevada election officials ignore a ruling by District Court Judge. Judge Rob Bare declared Andrew Martin ineligible to be a candidate because of the overwhelming evidence showing he did not live in the district as required by law.
The Las Vegas Sun reported the story on November 5, 2012 titled: “On Eve of Election, Judge Rules Democrat Ineligible to Run for Assembly District 9”. http://bit.ly/
Andrew Martin, Democratic candidate for Assembly, did not meet the statutory requirements to be eligible for office in District 9. KLAS-TV reported that District Court Judge Rob Bare ruled, “He may not be a candidate for Assembly District 9.” The judge also said, “It was determined by overwhelming evidence that Candidate Andrew Martin does not live in the district he seeks to represent as required by law.”
Judge Rob Bare's ruling should have set a series of actions in place. State law requires that if a candidate is disqualified after ballots are printed, then election officials “...must post a sign at each polling place...” in the district informing voters “...that the person is disqualified from entering upon the duties of office.” Martin's opponent Kelly Hurst requested of Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax that, as required by law, Lomax place the signs in the district polling locations. Lomax refused. TRUNC contacted Lomax regarding his refusal. He stated that he “was advised by Mary Ann Miller of the Clark County District Attorney's office not to post the signs”
According to Mary Ann Miller, who attended the hearing presided by Judge Bare, the judge's ruling has not yet been formally posted in writing and that plaintiff Kelly Hurst did not ask the judge to order Clark County Registrar or Secretary of State to post the signs as prescribed by law and that the DA (District Attorney) therefore was under no obligation to enforce the law.
Mary Ann Miller also stated the “wrong statute” was used to make the complaint. So does this set the precedent that the DA's office does not have to enforce the law or even act on a judge's ruling if the complainant cites the wrong statute? Is Ross Miller somehow above the judge? Is Lomax above the law? Despite Judge Bare's ruling that Andrew Martin is not qualified to hold office in District 9, doesn’t it seem odd that District Attorney Steven Wolfson would thumb his nose at Judge Bare? Equally odd is that Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax would make no attempt to ensure the election was conducted according to election law. The oddest twist of all is that Nevada Secretary of State (SOS) Ross Miller would take a “So what?” attitude. Ross Miller is ultimately responsible for implementing election law to guarantee elections are fair and lawful. He has been negligent and derelict in his duties leaving many to believe his actions point to partisan politics. Miller is rumored to be considering a run for higher office in 2014 when his term as SOS ends. Nevada Attorney General (AG) Cortez-Masto, also rumored to be politically ambitious, dodged the matter.
TRUNC inquired with the SOS office about how a complaint could be filed against the office of Secretary of State and Ross Miller; they said they did not know if there was any way to do so and referred TRUNC to Catherine Lu of the “Election Integrity Task Force”. Ms. Lu also did not know how to file a complaint against the office of Secretary of State/ Ross Miller and advised contacting the AG, Catherine Cortez-Masto, whose office in turn said the buck stops at Governor Sandoval's office. Spokesperson for the Governor's office said “The Governor has no authority” One can only wonder how much this level of incompetence cost taxpayers?
It appears that DA Steven Wolfson, Registrar Larry Lomax, SOS Ross Miller and AG Cortez-Masto could not care less if an election is legal or if a district court's ruling on the matter is worth executing their duties and ensuring that the voters of AD-9 are represented by a legal candidate.
Several possible outcomes have been pondered: Andrew Martin who received more votes, but was not an eligible candidate, will be removed from the ballot (his votes not counted) as prescribed by law leaving Kelly Hurst as the only eligible candidate on the ballot and running unopposed. Andrew Martin would need to appeal the declaration by District Court Judge Rob Bare and have the ruling overturned to remain on the ballot (have his votes counted). The latter seems extremely unlikely due to the overwhelming evidence presented showing Andrew Martin does not live in the district. It is possible that the Democratic controlled legislature could choose to ignore Judge Rob Bare and seat Andrew Martin. The consensus is that Marilyn Kilpatrick; the newly elected Democrat Majority Leader, will avoid all appearances of enabling unlawful election practices and is unlikely to carry water for Martin after Judge Rob Bare’s ruling, especially since it will not change the status of the Democratic Majority. Kilpatrick will need to consider if she will put her reputation on the line against fair elections for Andrew Martin who could be thrown out of office by the courts in the end. If that happened, the office would be declared vacant and the county commissioners would be charged with appointing a replacement. Then, every voter in AD9 would end up with a representative that no one voted for. Majority leader Kilpatrick could not be reached and has not returned request for comment.
Andrew Martin, under penalty of perjury, sought to represent a district he did not live in as already determined in a court of law. His unlawful behavior has left all voters in AD9 without a voice. Any voter who may have voted for Andrew Martin wasted their vote voting for an ineligible candidate. Andrew Martin must be held accountable for having complete disregard for the rights of voters and deceiving them into voting for him. Any voter who voted for Kelly Hurst is also disenfranchised because per law he ran unopposed and should be declared the winner.
There is precedence in Nevada for prosecuting candidates who were found to not live in their district and attempting to fool the voters. Republican Lynette Boggs-McDonald was indicted for perjury and gross misdemeanor for lying about her residence and living outside the district she sought to represent. There is also precedence for declaring an election nullified. In 1996 then Clark County Registrar Kathryn Ferguson, nullified the election of Jeff Knight and Anne DeMartini not once but twice when mistakes were made by authorities in the process.
There is now a “grass roots” effort underway to collect signatures to demand that Clark County Registrar, Larry Lomax, Secretary of State Ross Miller, Clark County DA Steven Wolfson and Attorney General Cortez-Masto step up and do their jobs as the law requires and enforce proper elections. Every voter contacted by TRUNC, Republican, Democrat and Other, has been outraged by this turn of events. Voters are questioning the willingness and ability of the elected officials to conduct proper elections. Dane and Associates, one of the largest auto dialers, has agreed to make robo calls starting with the voters of Assembly District-9. Volunteers conducted a pilot with voters and over 450 signatures were collected on day one suggesting voters are interested in pushing for fair elections. Volunteers are considering the implementation of stations for voters in the district to collect signatures. Attorney Michael Root has been contacted for legal opinion.
Who loses when election laws are ignored? Voters are the losers.
For more information on how to contact officials visit http://www.TRUNConline.com
Page Updated Last on: Dec 03, 2012