N.R.S. 293C.367 – Rejection of ballots; regulations for counting ballots
Overview of Statute
This section provides guidance for election boards when making a determination on whether a ballot must be rejected, and provides provisions that must be included in regulations for counting ballots.
1. The basic factor to be considered by an election board when making a determination of whether a particular ballot must be rejected is whether any identifying mark appears on the ballot which, in the opinion of the election board, constitutes an identifying mark such that there is a reasonable belief entertained in good faith that the ballot has been tampered with and, as a result of the tampering, the outcome of the election would be affected.
2. Regulations for counting ballots must include provisions that:
(a) An error in marking one or more votes on a ballot does not invalidate any votes properly marked on that ballot.
(b) A soiled or defaced ballot may not be rejected if it appears that the soiling or defacing was inadvertent and was not done purposely to identify the ballot.
(d) It is unlawful for any election board officer to place any mark upon any ballot other than a spoiled ballot.
(e) When an election board officer rejects a ballot for any alleged defect or illegality, the officer shall seal the ballot in an envelope and write upon the envelope a statement that it was rejected and the reason for rejecting it. Each election board officer shall sign the envelope.
1. Definition for Spoiled ballot
A ballot defaced by a voter and exchanged for a new one.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.107.
2. Definition for Election board
The persons appointed by each county or city clerk to assist in the conduct of an election.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293B.027.
3. Definition for Election board officer
A person appointed to assist in the conduct of an election.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.050.
4. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293D.080.
6. Definition for Ballot
The record of a voter’s preference of candidates and questions voted upon at an election. The term includes, without limitation, any paper given to a voter upon which the voter places his or her vote and any electronic storage tapes.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.025.
Case Name: Dennis v. Caughlin
Citation: 22 Nev. 447, 41 Pac. 768
- Only way voter can indicate his choice is by cross or "X" as required by statute.
Case Name: Lynip v. Buckner
Citation: 22 Nev. 426, 41 Pac. 762
- Failure to remove number slip should not cause rejection of ballot.
Case Name: State ex rel. McMillan v. Sadler
Citation: 25 Nev. 131, 58 Pac. 284, 59 Pac. 546, 63 Pac. 128
- Requirement that officers of election be of different political parties is directory.
- In an election contest, objections were overruled to ballots containing accidental pencil markings, ink blots, finger marks, crosses, words written by election officers after ballots had been cast, etc.
- In an election contest, improperly marked ballots were rejected which contained crosses followed by "1," crosses after both the names of candidates, crosses enclosed with an "O," etc.
- Differences in persons marking ballots, such as age, health, and experience in use of pencils, considered in determining the validity of ballots.
- Where a ballot was deposited without the strip bearing its number being detached, it was allowed and counted.
- Ballots marked for more candidates to an office than were to be elected were not void but were not counted for either party in a contested election for Governor.
- Where ballot contained crossed-out name of withdrawn candidate, such ballot was improper and were not allowed or counted.
- Ballots marked so that it could not be determined for whom the vote was intended were not void but were not counted for either candidate.
- New election permitted if candidate validly resigns nomination and secretary of state has no official paper to print proper ballots.
- Voters may be registered only by authorized person.
Case Name: State ex rel. Springmeyer v. Baker
Citation: 35 Nev. 300, 129 Pac. 452
- Ballots were considered good on which more candidates were voted for some offices than there were officers to be elected, but ballots which contained a cross after the names of both candidates who were parties to the contest were not counted for either.
- Later enactment of statute (cf. NRS 52.125) was not intended to repeal provisions of previously enacted statute (cf. NRS 293.391.)
- Ballots are not admissible in evidence in an election contest under the certificate of a county clerk if the ballots were out of his official custody for a period of time after certification, unless evidence is supplied that they were in the same condition when presented to the court.
- Certificate by clerk could authenticate ballots only as to time it was made.
- Ballot box not admitted in evidence until clerk certified that it contained same ballots as when it left his possession.
- Certain conditions may permit ballots and returns to be certified and forwarded to court or board without requiring presence of clerk.
- Ballot is not public record or document and is not admissible in evidence until inspected by judge, body or board before whom election is being contested.
Case Name: Strosnider v. Turner
Citation: 30 Nev. 155, 93 Pac. 502
- Where a ballot was improperly marked because it was blurred by too much ink or by some other accidental cause, the ballot was not objectionable.
- Where a ballot was improperly marked with a double cross opposite one candidate, and an indescribable mark opposite another candidate, the ballot should have been excluded.
- A ballot that was not stamped as required by law, but was marked with a lead pencil throughout, was properly rejected in an election contest.
Regulations & Guidance
Attorney General's Opinions
AGO 119 (1944) Election laws do not permit the writing in of names of candidates. (See NRS 293C.367.)