Columns

New Data Show 92,367 Mail Ballots in Nevada Went to Wrong Addresses—in a Single County

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Hindsight is 20/20, and now numbers from the 2020 election show how Nevada made a mistake rushing to automatic mail ballots. Dirty voter rolls combined with automatic mail made the 2020 election a mess in Nevada.

Concrete post-election data show that 92,367 mail ballots sent out by Clark County election officials came back as undeliverable. They had incorrect or outdated addresses.

That means they were sent where the registered voter did not live. That means someone else could have snatched those misdirected live ballots. That means someone probably did.

This unfortunate number is unwelcome considering President Joe Biden only carried Nevada by 33,596 votes. Clark’s 92,367 bounced ballots demonstrate a real vulnerability with mass mail balloting.

That’s just Clark County where Las Vegas is. The number of ballots that went to the wrong addresses statewide is most certainly much higher.

It is true that these ballots ultimately bounced back uncast. If nothing else, that’s a lot of wasted paper and postage. But how many ballots never came back because there wasn’t yet clear information about the registrants who had died or moved away?

More importantly, sending 92,367 ballots to the wrong places was a gamble our system of electing leaders should not be making.

Remember, last year The Public Interest Legal Foundation, an organization I am affiliated with, documented through video that ballots were mailed and cast from vacant lots, abandoned mines, liquor stores, and casinos in Nevada.

Nobody should want tens of thousands of ballots floating through the mails to destinations unknown. Elections don’t run well when voting is scattered and distant from election officials. The 92,367 bounced ballots demonstrate slack in the system.

Never mind all that, Congress is considering making it worse.

Despite the evidence of problems with mail ballots in Nevada and other states including Pennsylvania, Congress is trying to push more of our elections into the mail. The bill is called H.R.1 and now is in the Senate for consideration.

H.R.1 would federalize control over state elections. It would undo the very compromise that led to the creation of the United States, namely that states control their own elections. H.R.1 would put bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., in charge of every aspect of elections.

Not only will H.R. 1 mandate more mail-in balloting, but it will also increase the inaccuracies in voter rolls, resulting in more undeliverable ballots across the United States.

H.R. 1 would also strip states of control over their own elections.

One of HR 1’s many inane provisions prevents election officials from checking the eligibility and qualifications of voters. This includes restrictions on using the United States Postal Service change-of-address system to help do maintenance on the voter lists. This will only result in more ballots being sent to the wrong places.

If passed, H.R.1 would institutionalize slack and chaos in elections. We need to learn from the lessons — and data — of 2020 and pass laws that increase the accuracy of voter rolls and trust in our elections. Instead, HR 1 amplifies the shortcomings of 2020 on a national scale.

Mass mail voting is a step backward for the United States. We now have real data. Nobody wants 100,000 live blank ballots sent out in the mail to bad addresses. It’s time for election officials to clean voter rolls and reconsider relying on the post office in helping to decide elections.