Facts vs. Myths for the 2020 Primary Election

Myth #1

The decision to conduct the primary election by mail ballot was made by the Governor.

Fact #1

The Secretary of State, in partnership with all 17 Nevada county election officials, made the decision on March 24, 2020 to conduct the primary election by mail ballot as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Myth #2

The Secretary of State did not have the legal authority to mandate that the primary election be conducted by mail ballots.

Fact #2

As was recently upheld by a federal judge, the Secretary of State used authority granted to her pursuant to NRS 293.213 to authorize an all-mail primary election.

Myth #3

Since the primary election is being conducted by mail, the November general election will also be an all-mail election.

Fact #3

The decision to conduct an all-mail election is for the 2020 primary election only.  All voting precincts in Nevada are currently designated as mailing precincts and will revert back to normal status after the primary election.

Myth #4

If a mail ballot is sent to a deceased individual or a voter who no longer resides at the address on file for the voter, the mail ballot can be fraudulently voted.

Fact #4

Each mail ballot must be returned in an authorized ballot return envelope, which must be signed by the voter. This signature is compared to the signature on file at the election office for the voter, and if the signature does not match, the ballot is rejected.

Myth #5

There are less safeguards in place for voting by mail compared to voting in person.

Fact #5

There are multiple safeguards in place no matter which voting method is used. Mail ballots cannot just be picked up and voted by anyone. All mail ballots must be signed on the ballot return envelope. This signature is used to authenticate the voter and confirm that it was actually the voter and not another person who returned the mail ballot. Signature comparison is also used for authentication purposes for in-person voting, meaning the same authentication standard exists for both voting by mail and in-person voting.

Myth #6

Using mail ballots make it is easy for a person to vote more than once in the same election.

Fact #6

Ballots are printed on specialized paper using highly calibrated printers, and each ballot is bar coded. If a voter were to make a photocopy of their blank ballot and attempt to vote more than once, the duplicate ballot would be identified and not counted. If a ballot return envelope contains more than one ballot, all ballots in the return envelope are rejected. If a voter is sent a replacement ballot because their original ballot was misplaced, the voter must use the replacement ballot and their original ballot is voided. Voided ballots are not counted even if they are returned by the voter.

Myth #7

The counting of mail ballots is done in secret and cannot be observed by the public.

Fact #7

The counting of mail ballots is overseen by a bipartisan counting board in each county, and members of the public can observe the counting of all ballots. Individuals who wish to observe the counting of ballots can contact their county election official to find out when and where ballot counting will take place.

Myth #8

Mail ballots are counted by hand.

Fact #8

All mail ballots are counted by running them through a digital scanner. If the scanner cannot read the ballot for whatever reason or determine the voter’s intent for a specific contest, the ballot is sent to an adjudication or duplication team, both of which are overseen by a bipartisan election board.

Myth #9

Mail ballots that are undeliverable as addressed are not returned to the county election official and instead sit unsecured at the post office.

Fact #9

All mail ballots are sent with a return service requested endorsement.  This means that ballots that are undeliverable as addressed are returned to the county election official.  They do not remain in the possession of the U.S. Postal Service.

Myth #10

The equipment used to count mail ballots cannot be trusted.

Fact #10

All voting equipment used in Nevada elections, including mail ballot scanners, must meet or exceed federal voting system standards and be independently tested to determine the equipment functions correctly. In Nevada, the independent testing is performed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Additionally, all voting equipment used for an election is subject to rigorous testing and auditing, both before and after each election. Access to voting equipment is tightly controlled. Members of the public can observe all voting equipment testing and auditing that is performed by the county.

Myth #11

Election results that change after Election Day is evidence of fraud.

Fact #11

Election results are unofficial until each county certifies results, which can take up to 10 days after the election pursuant to NRS 293.387.  Due to the passage of Assembly Bill 345 by the 2019 Legislature, there are valid reasons a ballot cast on or before Election Day may not be counted until after Election Day, including mail ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day but not received by the county until after Election Day.  Ballots cast by voters who register to vote at the polling place will also not be counted until after Election Day.

Myth #12

If you choose to vote in person at a polling place for the 2020 primary election, you will be able to vote on a voting machine.

Fact #12

Voting machines will only be used in Washoe County. Voters in all other counties in Nevada who choose to vote in person will be required to vote on a paper ballot.

Download our 2020 Nevada Primary Election Facts vs. Myths sheet