2020 General Election Myths vs Facts
There is a lot of misinformation about the 2020 Nevada General Election. Below, we address many of those myths with the facts behind the vote counting process and voting methods used not only in Pershing County, but statewide. You can also download this Fact vs. Myths examination as a PDF.
Early voting for the 2020 Nevada General Election is October 17-30, 2020.
Election Day is November 3, 2020.
Myth: You cannot vote in person for the general election.
Fact: Any registered voter can vote in person if they choose to do so. All counties will have polling places open during early voting (Oct. 17-30) and on Election Day (Nov. 3) for in-person voting.
Myth: You must physically surrender your ballot before voting in person, so if you did not receive a ballot in the mail then you cannot vote in person.
Fact: In order to vote in person, a voter must physically surrender their mail ballot at the polling place OR sign an affirmation indicating the voter will not vote their mail ballot. Although encouraged, voters are not required to bring their mail ballot with them to surrender before voting in person.
Myth: Since all voters will receive a ballot in the mail, it will be easy for a voter to cast two ballots, once by mail and once in person.
Fact: The election management system (EMS) used in Nevada only allows one ballot to be assigned to a voter at a time. The EMS does not allow a voter to cast multiple ballots. If you vote in person, you will not be allowed to cast a mail ballot. If you vote by mail, you will not be allowed to vote in person. These safeguards have been in place for a long time and have proven effective.
Myth: Election officials in Nevada do not verify the voter’s signature on the ballot return envelope before the ballot is counted.
Fact: Signature verification is performed on every ballot received. If the signature is missing or if the signature on the ballot return envelope does not match the signature on file for the voter, the ballot will not be counted until the voter verifies their signature.
Myth: The bill recently passed by the Nevada Legislature weakened Nevada’s signature verification procedures.
Fact: While the bill did include language detailing how signature verification must be performed, the bill simply put into law the procedure that was already being followed for signature verification. The bill did not “water down” or weaken the signature verification process.
Myth: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) does not apply postmarks to mail ballots.
Fact: Over 450,000 ballots [statewide] were cast by mail for the 2020 primary election, and all of them were postmarked by USPS even though the ballot return envelopes are postage prepaid business reply mail. Representatives from USPS have assured election officials that all ballots will continue to be postmarked prior to being delivered for counting.
Myth: A person can cast a mail ballot after Election Day and still have their ballot counted.
Fact: All mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 3) or dropped off at a ballot drop-off location by 7:00 pm on Election Day in order to be counted. The counties have until seven days after the election to receive ballots in the mail, but only ballots postmarked on or before Election Day will be counted.
Myth: Nevada has old voting equipment.
Fact: All Nevada counties replaced all their voting equipment prior to the 2018 election cycle. This means Nevada has some of the newest voting equipment in use nationwide.
Myth: 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: All mail ballots 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: There are fewer safeguards in place for voting by mail compared to voting in person.
Fact: There are multiple safeguards in place no matter which voting method is used. Discarded 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 exist for both voting by mail and in-person voting.
Myth: Using mail ballots make it is easy for a person to vote more than once in the same election.
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: The counting of mail ballots is done in secret and cannot be observed by the public.
Fact: 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: Mail ballots are counted by hand.
Fact: 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: The equipment used to count mail ballots cannot be trusted.
Fact: All voting equipment in use in Nevada, including mail ballot scanners, must meet or exceed the 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 at the county.
Myth: Election results that change after Election Day is evidence of fraud.
Fact: Election results are unofficial until each county certifies results, which can take up to 13 days after the election. There are many 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: Mail ballots that are undeliverable as addressed are not returned to the county election official and instead sit unsecured at the Post Office.
Fact: 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: Voters who choose to vote in person will not be able to vote on a touchscreen voting machine.
Fact: All early voting and Election Day polling places will have touchscreen voting machines for use by voters who choose to vote in person.