The Nevada secretary of state has accused her state’s Department of Motor Vehicles of facilitating voter fraud and said she has evidence non-citizens voted in last year’s presidential election.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) wrote in a letter Friday to DMV Director Terri Albertson that DMV workers had been accepting voting applications from non-citizens and forwarding them to the secretary of state’s office. Cegavske said she had evidence non-citizens voted in the presidential election, but didn’t elaborate.
President Donald Trump has stoked fears of voter fraud, claiming repeatedly that millions illegally voted in the 2016 election. Like Cegavske, Trump has offered no evidence, but the White House is gearing up for a federal investigation. Voting fraud is extremely rare.
Cegavske, who supports requiring voters to produce a photo ID, said in January that while there was no evidence of voter fraud in the state during the presidential election, she said she was aware of attempted fraud related to registration.
It’s unclear what changed.
“There’s nothing else,” Gail Anderson, Cegavske’s deputy for southern Nevada, told the Nevada Independent, referring to the secretary of state’s letter alleging voter fraud. “When we have information that can be provided, we certainly would do that.”
Cegavske’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) seemed unaware of the evidence for Cegavske’s claim, but said Monday he “expects to hear more.”
Joe Gloria, registrar of voters in Clark County, the most populous in Nevada, told the Independent he was unaware of any voter fraud probe.
Federal law requires states to allow residents to register to vote at DMV offices.
The Nevada DMV director responded to Cegavske’s allegation with a strongly worded letter on Saturday that said the secretary of state’s office had signed off on the DMV’s voter registration procedures.
“Your letter comes as a complete surprise as you and your office have reviewed, contributed to, and approved the processes you are expressing concerns about,” DMV director Albertson wrote.
Albertson noted that DMV officials would flag suspect applications for further review by a county clerk or registrar to determine voting eligibility.
The governor defended the DMV in the public dispute. “They were operating under the policies and guidelines that were adopted pursuant to input, review and approval of the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office,” Sandoval told the Independent.
“I’m going to rely on (DMV Director) Terri Albertson — they are proceeding in accordance with what has been approved,” Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “So I guess the ball is in the secretary of state’s court.”
The ACLU of Nevada said in a statement on Monday that election officials, not the DMV, had the burden of verifying the eligibility of voters.
Under the National Voter Registration Act, the DMV “cannot make determinations regarding voter eligibility” and must send voter registration applications to state election officials for a judgment, the ACLU said.