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NV SOS Francisco Aguilar (Photo: @ciscoaguilar)

NV SOS Reverses Course, Delays Top-Down Election Management System

The NV Association of County Clerks and election officials asked to delay the project due to unresolved problems during the mock election

By Megan Barth, March 19, 2024 12:49 pm

The Nevada Globe first reported on the wide-spread concerns county officials expressed about the “speedy” implementation of the top-down election system (VREMS). These concerns, first shared with the Globe, have now been made official in a request (see below) sent to the Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar by the Nevada Association of County Clerks and election officials who have asked to delay the the project due to unresolved problems during last week’s mock election. Clark County has already implemented the system and Lyon County has sent a separate request asking for the project’s delay.

SOS Aguilar meetings with Washoe County interim registrar Cari-Ann Burgess during the PPP (Photo: @CiscoAguilar)

We are concerned that project success in both real and public perception terms may be unattainable under the current implementation schedule.

Nevertheless, the Mock Election exercise we conducted last week revealed a number of issues in the system that must be resolved before we “Go Live”

Therefore, we collectively and formally request that the “Go Live” date for the VREMS project be extended to July of this year, to give us all time to complete the due diligence expected by our constituents and ourselves.

This request is not made lightly. We need this system. More importantly, we need this system to be successful. We all are charged with ensuring the accuracy, integrity, and security of elections. We must be able to guarantee that we have a final product that will best serve the needs of the voters in Nevada.

In response to the Nevada Association of County Clerks request, Aguilar agreed to delay the April 1st “Go Live” date to July, with the expectation of utilizing the new system for the general election in November, noting the the confidence of voters “must be a top priority.”

In speaking with political party stakeholders, there are still significant concerns that unless the system is tested in an actual election, such as a primary, then it should not be tested as a virgin system during an important general election in November. “We agree with Aguilar that the confidence of voters must be a top priority, and it would be unreasonable to ask voters to be confident in an untested system in November,” they told The Globe.

Prior to the mock election, sources told the Globe that “they would do everything they could to ‘break the system’ to avoid another “glitch.” The “glitch” in February’s Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) provoked public backlash over President’s Day weekend and an emergency meeting between the counties and the Secretary of State at 8 am on February 19th, a state holiday.

After the glitch, Secretary of State Aguilar issued an apology, blamed a technical error, and noted that “Nevada has a long history of secure, fair, and accessible elections…Voters should have absolute confidence in the entire election process.”

The RNC and the Nevada GOP responded to his apology by filing  three open records requests with Washoe County, Clark County, and the Nevada Secretary of State asking for specific details and communications in relation to voters who were erroneously notified that they had voted or they were not eligible to vote.

For background, the ~$30 million allocation approved during the last legislative session will “fund the speedy implementation of the Voter Registration and Elections Management Solution (VREMS to create a centralized statewide voter registration database,” the Secretary of State noted. (emphasis added)

Yet, election officials in other states who have implemented the VREMS system, like Wisconsin, say it takes two to three years to implement, not the “speedy” timeline that Secretary Aguilar has set forth.

This system, prescribed by Assembly Bill 422 which passed in the 2021 legislature, “will make our elections more consistent across all 17 counties and increase transparency in voter data,” said Aguilar.

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Megan Barth
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One thought on “NV SOS Reverses Course, Delays Top-Down Election Management System

  1. The counties I guess are the ones concern, July doesn’t give much time til November election. Oh well close enough for government work…

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