LAS VEGAS (AP) — Elections officials say Nevada has safeguards in place to prevent people from voting twice in elections, refuting an assertion from former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller that a new state law makes it possible for voters to cast more than one ballot.
Heller, a Republican who was Nevada's top elections official while serving as secretary of state from 1995 through 2006, was interviewed Wednesday on Fox Business and criticized the new election law signed by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak that requires sending ballots to all of the state’s active voters ahead of the November election.
The law has been criticized by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, whose reelection campaign filed a lawsuit this week to try to block it.
Heller said that among his concerns was someone casting a vote by mail and then showing up at the polls to cast a ballot. Heller said he asked Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske what would happen if someone voted twice.
“I said, ‘That’s a felony. It has been for decades. What happens then?’ She says ‘Nothing,'" he said.
“We have an attorney general that won’t prosecute it," Heller went on. “We had a former attorney general that was a Republican that refused to prosecute. So you can vote more than once."
Cegavske's office did not respond to questions about her conversation with Heller, but Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said, “Nevada has many protections in place to ensure elections are fair and accurate, including safeguards that ensure no voter is allowed to cast more than one ballot in any given election."
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office said it “takes allegations of voter fraud extremely seriously” and “while voter fraud is rare, it undermines trust in our election system.”
Ford’s spokeswoman Monica Moazez said his office has not declined to prosecute any substantiated cases of voter fraud.
She said the office filed a case a year ago alleging someone voted in person in Nevada and Arkansas in 2016. Moazez said the case is ongoing and the office cannot provide more details. It wasn't clear from court documents how officials caught the person.
Voters who are mailed a ballot in Nevada can only vote in person after they physically surrender their mailed ballot or sign an affirmation under penalty of perjury stating that they have not already voted, Thorley said.
He said Nevada also has an election management system that prevents a ballot from being issued to a voter who has already voted or a ballot from being counted if that voter already voted.
Heller told The Associated Press Wednesday evening that Nevada's election's system is “very good” and acknowledged it has cross references to catch someone voting twice. But “the system is not perfect" and "things slip through the cracks,” he said.
Heller did not identify any ways the system would fail to catch someone voting twice or allow a second vote to be counted in election results but said, “even if they get caught, there still won't be an investigation.”