Follow-Up: Voter Integrity

September 18, 2019

This is a follow-up to an article we published in May.  The below content was emailed and read by Sara Schmitz at the Washoe County Commissioners Board meeting on September 17th.  The result of the below comments included Commissioner Berkbigler requesting staff to obtain or create procedures for handling voter integrity complaints by the Registrar of Voters.  She requested this information be brought before the Board in October. In addition, Commissioner Jung requested the Board review the Secretary of State’s procedures for handling of voter integrity complaints.  Below is the statement read and emailed.

Last spring, during early primary voting, it is known that citizens of Incline Village and Crystal Bay lodged complaints against IVGID Trustee Phil Horan to the Secretary of State, the Registrar of Voters, and to Commissioner Berkbigler.   It is also known that Trustee Horan was removed as a poll worker and did not return in either the primary or the general election.  This issue seemed to evaporate, until May of this year.  Here is what our investigation brought forth.

In May, an employee of the Registrar of Voters spoke and answered questions in a public setting.  Sara Schmitz asked if an investigation was conducted on this matter and the results.  The gentleman stated that after an investigation, it was determined the released poll worker would not be allowed to be a future poll worker.

As you know, our IV/CB Community 1st newsletter reported this fact which was quickly contradicted by our Registrar of Voters.  The Registrar stated her office doesn’t conduct investigations and that she asked Mr. Horan to step down to avoid any appearance of impropriety.  She said this action was taken by mutual consent. Public Records Requests reveal that Trustee Horan was surprised by his removal. The Registrar knew he was a seated IVGID Trustee, yet, she allowed him to work the polls until only 3 days before the end of the primary.  What motivated her to make this request other than complaints that she admits were never investigated?

Since an investigation wasn’t conducted by Ms. Spikula, the Registrar of Voters, we inquired with the SOS as to their investigation.  The office of the SOS stated the complaints were “hearsay.”  However, not one person having filed a formal written complaint was ever contacted.  Then after receiving responses to our  public records requests, we learned there were no written reports and there were no procedures for the office of the SOS to follow regarding election integrity complaints.  No report?  No procedures?  Then another interesting public record from the office of the SOS showed the investigation was called off at the request of Washoe County.  Who in Washoe County instructed the office of the SOS to stop an investigation?

Then when asked the same question a few weeks ago at a public community meeting, Commissioner Berkbigler stated the Registrar reviewed the situation and couldn’t determine if anything unlawful occurred and determined it’s best to exclude elected officials from serving as poll workers.  So did the Registrar of Voters investigate?

Our point in all of this is to show how the truth seems obscure and the statements being made contradict each other.  So what IS the truth?  It is clear there was NEVER an investigation conducted by either the SOS or the Registrar of Voters AND the office of the SOS stated there are no formal procedures for investigating election integrity complaints.  Before we have our next 2020 primary election, we ask you to contact our County Commissioners and urge them to ensure the Registrar of Voters and the SOS have procedures for handling complaints.  We need to be confident that the integrity of our elections are protected.  Here are their email addresses: vhartung@washoecounty.us; blucey@washoecounty.us; jherman@washoecounty.us; kjung@washoecounty.us; MBerkbigler@washoecounty.us

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