Republican candidate Stavros Anthony filed a motion with the Clark County District Court on Wednesday seeking to prevent the Clark County Commission from canvassing the votes in the District C election and from reconsidering the decision not to certify those results at its Tuesday meeting.
The commission decided last week not to certify the results of the commission District C race — which Anthony lost to Democrat Ross Miller by 10 votes — and instead pursue a special election, because the number of ballot discrepancies was higher than Miller’s margin of victory. Miller filed a lawsuit against the county for its decision the next day.
However, an agenda item for the commission’s Dec. 1 meeting opens the door for commissioners to reconsider that choice and instead certify the race’s initial results.
“We strongly believe that the initial decision by the Commission was the right decision on November 16,” Anthony said in a statement on Wednesday. “It seems unusual and not fair that the Commission should now consider reversing their decision and ignoring the Nevada Statutes that support their decision. Fair and accurate voting is a priority, and a new election is the only way to ensure those two criteria.”
The county declined to comment on the motion or on the decision to reconsider certifying District C's results.
Anthony’s campaign previously stated that they do not believe “fraud” or “conspiracy” played any role in the discrepancies in this race, but rather that they were a result of “human error.” Discrepancies occur when voters cast multiple ballots, if check-in numbers do not match the number of votes cast at a precinct, or as a result of various mail-in ballot issues. There were 139 discrepancies noted in District C.
Campaign manager Lisa Mayo-DeRiso called the commission’s decision on Nov. 16 “a win.”
A hearing for Miller’s lawsuit against the county was set to be scheduled next week after an initial conference on Friday. At that conference, county Counsel Mary-Anne Miller agreed to a stipulation that the county would not move forward with a special election until the suit had been settled.
Anthony’s motion says that in the interest of upholding that stipulation to “preserve the status quo,” the county should also be prevented from reconsidering the decision to hold a special election. Because of this, the candidate is requesting a preliminary injunction preventing the commission from taking any action at the meeting.
The agenda item for Tuesday’s meeting states that the commission will canvass, or certify, the official tally of the votes in Commission District C and may direct that tally to the secretary of state for certification or “take other action as appropriate.” If the decision is made to send the results to the secretary of state, the county would cease planning for a special election, and Miller would be certified as the winner. Anthony’s options would then be to request a recount or file a challenge against the race’s results.
Anthony’s complaint argues that preventing the court from considering a special election and leaving his campaign with only the options of a recount or a challenge would cause the candidate “irreparable harm.” Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said at the initial vote canvassing that the discrepancies noted in District C could not be remedied via recount.
Additionally, in the case of a contest, a judge can only remedy irregularities in an election by awarding the office to the candidate who can prove they actually “received the greater number of legal votes” or annul the election and leave the office vacant. Neither of these options provides for a revote.
Miller's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Anthony’s motion.