Judge rejects bid for re-vote in Nevada state Senate race

As one case is decided another will be heard Wednesday

Associated Press
November 25, 2020 - 4:56 am
Red wood table and red chair in the justice court

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge in Las Vegas refused Tuesday to order a new election for a Republican state Senate candidate who argued that ballot discrepancies reported by Clark County’s elections chief might have made a difference in her 631-vote loss to the Legislature’s top Democrat.

Clark County District Court Judge Joe Hardy Jr. denied, on procedural grounds, the effort by GOP candidate April Becker to force a re-vote in the race won by incumbent state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro.

Hardy noted that Cannizzaro wasn’t a named party in Becker’s court filing against county Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria over his handling of the election, and that the case is actually a contest-of-election action.

County lawmakers signed off on a canvass of the election on Nov. 16, after Gloria reported 936 “discrepancies” had been found among the more than 974,000 votes counted countywide. The registrar said the results in only the closest race — a commission seat — might have been affected.

Hardy acknowledged that county commission members expressed a willingness to hold a new election to decide that race, where 10 votes separate two candidates. 

But he told Becker’s attorney, Craig Mueller, that ordering a new election in state Senate District 6, where more than 67,000 votes were cast, could invalidate other elections and disenfranchise voters in the state’s most populous county.

Becker could seek action by the state Legislature when it convenes, the judge said.

“This is as I stated, an election contest,” Hardy ruled. “Ms. Cannizzaro needs to be a named party and, here, has not been.”

The hearing was one of three election-related cases scheduled in various state courts on the day the Nevada Supreme Court made official the results of the statewide election — including Democrat Joe Biden’s 33,596-vote win over Republican President Donald Trump.

In Carson City, Judge James Russell set a Dec. 3 evidentiary hearing in a contest-of-election case filed by Trump campaign attorneys. 

Jesse Binnall, a lawyer heading the campaign effort in Nevasda, said he intends to prove that so many fraudulent votes were cast statewide that Trump won, not Biden.

Trump insisted Tuesday in Washington that he wasn’t giving up his fight to overturn election results. However, windows are closing on his campaign’s legal efforts in key states including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and a Biden administration transition has begun.

In Las Vegas, a judge is due on Wednesday to hear a request by former professional wrestler and GOP congressional candidate Dan Rodimer for a re-vote in the race he lost by a margin of 3% to incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Susie Lee.

Rodimer claims voter fraud and ballot-counting irregularities led to his loss. Mueller also represents Rodimer in the petition for a new election, which names Gloria as the defendant. Lee is not a named party in that case.