POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Nevada county election official in charge of controversial 2022 hand-count plan resigns

Feb 29, 2024, 7:56 PM

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 10: Ballots are processed by an election worker at the Clark Cou...

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 10: Ballots are processed by an election worker at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on November 10, 2022 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Two days after midterm elections Nevada election officials continue counting votes in state races. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The top elections official in a rural Nevada county roiled by false claims of widespread election fraud that led to a controversial hand-count in the 2022 midterms is resigning, according to a resignation letter the county received.

The reason for Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf’s resignation was not clear. The letter only said he was resigning effective March 31, and a county spokesperson could not confirm on Thursday the reason for his resignation.

Kampf declined to comment when reached over the phone by The Associated Press.

He stepped into the position in the wake of the county commission unanimously voting in support of ditching voting machines as conspiracies of a stolen 2020 election spread. The commission wanted every vote counted by hand, a request that made the county one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to act tangibly on election conspiracies, causing the old county clerk to resign.

Kampf ended up conducting a hand-count, but it looked vastly different than the original plan to make hand-counting the county’s primary method. The county used machines as the primary vote-counting method with a hand-count happening alongside, essentially acting as a test run for future elections. That plan did not appear to gain momentum leading up to 2024.

Deep-red Arizona county rejects proposal to hand-count ballots in 2024 elections

Perhaps the largest conflict stemming from the hand-count came between Kampf and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, which had spawned lawsuits, complaints to the secretary of state’s office and a series of Nevada Supreme Court rulings that fundamentally altered Nye County’s plan for its parallel hand-count. The ACLU said hand-counting risked election integrity, proved inefficient and was born out of false election conspiracies.

The hand-count started in late October 2022 when they started counting early ballots, but it was stopped after its second day due to a legal challenge by the ACLU and a subsequent order from the secretary of state’s office. The count could not resume until after polls closed.

“As my mom said, if I don’t have anything nice to say, probably don’t say it at all,” Athar Haseebullah, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, said in an interview after the announcement Thursday. “So I still have nothing nice to say all these years later.”

Kampf was recruited by Jim Marchant, a Republican candidate for secretary of state that year who claimed that every Nevada elected official since 2006 was “installed by the deep state cabal” and led a group of 17 election deniers across the country running mainly for state election offices. Marchant, along with 15 of the remaining 16 Republican coalition members, lost their races as part of a larger rebuke of far-right candidates casting doubt on elections in 2022.

Hand-counting is mostly used in small townships across New England and rural Wisconsin. As of the 2022 midterms, there were 658 jurisdictions in the continental U.S. that relied exclusively on hand-counting, with the vast majority having fewer than 2,000 registered voters, according to data from Verified Voting, a group that tracks voting equipment across states.

The most populous county in the continental U.S. to use only hand-counting was Owyhee County, Idaho, which had 6,315 registered voters as of 2020. Nye County, between Las Vegas and Reno, had over 33,000 total registered voters at the time.

Nevada Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, the state’s top election official who defeated Marchant, thanked Kampf for running county elections, “which is challenging even under the best of circumstances,” he said in an emailed statement.

“Election officials continue to face intense scrutiny and pressure, even though their work is the foundation of our democracy,” Aguilar said. “I’m grateful to Mr. Kampf for his willingness to work with our office for the success of elections in Nevada.”

Kampf’s resignation also continues a trend of turnover among county election officials in Nevada. Eleven of the state’s 17 counties have had turnover in top county election positions since the 2020 election, most of which occurred between 2020 and the 2022 midterms, according to an Associated Press tally, which already included Nye County due to the previous clerk’s resignation.

___

Stern is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on X, formerly Twitter: @gabestern326.

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at the US Capitol earlier this year. (Craig Hudson/REUT...

Ted Barrett, Morgan Rimmer and Clare Foran, CNN

Senate passes surveillance bill despite contentious debate over privacy concerns

The Senate voted late Friday to reauthorize a key surveillance authority, avoiding a lapse in the controversial program.

1 day ago

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks as he joins Ryan Smith, co-founder and chairman of Smith Enter...

Michael Houck and Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

Smith Entertainment Group addresses the logistics and politics of bringing the NHL to Utah

On Friday, the NHL and the new owners of the Utah NHL team discussed the exciting opportunities that the team can bring to Beehive State.

2 days ago

Donald Trump sits at a table a jury has been seated for his trial...

Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak, Jake Offenhartz and Alanna Durkin Richer

Jury of 12 people and 6 alternates is seated in Trump’s hush money trial in New York

A full jury of 12 people and six alternates has been seated Donald Trump's hush money case, setting the stage for expected opening statements next week in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

2 days ago

FILE: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks during a news conference following a closed-d...

Stephen Groves, Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House has pushed a $95 billion national security aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies closer to passage.

2 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2024. Short...

Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox, CNN

Johnson won’t change rules over removing him from speakership after hardliners revolt

Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will not change the procedure for removing him from the speakership.

3 days ago

FILE - New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks Feb. 16, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump coul...

Philp Marcelo, Associated Press

New York man pleads guilty to sending threats to state attorney general and Trump civil case judge

A New York man has pleaded guilty to sending death threats to the state attorney general and the Manhattan judge that presided over former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud suit.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Nevada county election official in charge of controversial 2022 hand-count plan resigns