N.R.S. 293C.369 – Standards for counting votes; regulations
Overview of Statute
This section provides guidelines for rejecting or counting ballots, and empowers the Secretary of State to adopt statewide standards for counting ballots.
1. When counting a vote in an election, if more choices than permitted by the instructions for a ballot are marked for any office or question, the vote for that office or question may not be counted.
2. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 1, in an election in which a mechanical voting system is used whereby a vote is cast by darkening a designated space on the ballot:
(a) A vote must be counted if the designated space is darkened or there is a writing in the designated space, including, without limitation, a cross or check; and
(b) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (a), a writing or other mark on the ballot, including, without limitation, a cross, check, tear or scratch may not be counted as a vote.
3. The Secretary of State:
(a) May adopt regulations establishing additional uniform, statewide standards, not inconsistent with this section, for counting a vote cast by a method of voting described in subsection 2; and
(b) Shall adopt regulations establishing uniform, statewide standards for counting a vote cast by each method of voting used in this State that is not described in subsection 2, including, without limitation, a vote cast on a mechanical recording device which directly records the votes electronically.
1. Definition for Mechanical voting system
A system of voting whereby a voter may cast a vote:
1. On a device which mechanically or electronically compiles a total of the number of votes cast for each candidate and for or against each measure voted on; or
2. By marking a paper ballot which is subsequently counted on an electronic tabulator, counting device or computer.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.0659.
2. Definition for Mechanical recording device
A device which mechanically or electronically compiles a total of the number of votes cast for each candidate and for or against each measure voted on.
See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.0657.
3. 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.
4. 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: 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.