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Fact-checking Republican claim of illegal votes in Nevada
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Republican lawyers identified more than 3,000 people who they say were no longer living in Clark County by the time they cast their ballots.
People don’t have to live in Clark County in order to vote there. People who move 30 days before an election can cast a vote in their new state or their old state. A Nevadan who goes to another state for college can also request a ballot.
The list produced by Republicans includes addresses for Americans serving overseas in the military.
President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans in Nevada are questioning the integrity of the 2020 election, claiming that there "appear" to be thousands of people who voted illegally.
"Our lawyers just sent a criminal referral to (U.S. Attorney General Bill) Barr regarding at least 3,062 instances of voter fraud," the Nevada Republican Party tweeted Nov. 5. "We expect that number to grow substantially. Thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from NV."
"In Nevada, there appear to be thousands of individuals who improperly cast mail ballots," Matt Morgan, general counsel for Trump’s reelection campaign, similarly said in a statement Nov. 6.
PolitiFact reached out to Trump’s campaign, a law office representing the campaign, and to the Nevada Republican Party seeking information. We did not hear back.
At this point, the claims are unproven.
A lawsuit filed Nov. 5 against Nevada’s secretary of state and the Clark County registrar of voters alleges that "irregularities have plagued the election in Clark County." Clark County is Nevada’s most populous county, is home to Las Vegas and has the state’s highest number of registered Democrats.
The lawsuit claims that there were "over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots," and that ballots were cast on behalf of deceased voters. It does not include evidence to back those claims. The lawsuit, which challenges the county’s use of a machine as a step in signature verification, was filed on behalf of a Nevada resident, candidate committees for two Republicans running for Congress, and another person identified as a credentialed member of the media.
"We are not aware of any improper ballots that are being processed," Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said during a press conference Nov. 5.
Lawyers for Trump’s campaign sent a letter to Clark County’s counsel, saying, "We have confirmed that thousands of votes have been cast improperly. Indeed, we have initially identified 3,062 voters who moved from Nevada before the election but still cast ballots in this election." The lawyers said they cross-referenced the list of general election voters with publicly available change of address records. The attorneys sent a similar letter to Barr, the U.S. attorney general.
However, a mismatch in those records doesn’t necessarily mean that a vote was cast illegally. The ACLU of Nevada said that an American who moved within 30 days before an election has a right to vote in a presidential race in their new state of residence, or may cast a ballot in their previous state of residence, in-person or via absentee ballot. A spokesperson for Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske, a Republican, told PolitiFact that the ACLU statement is accurate and also applies to Nevada.
Trump’s lawyers produced a list of voters who allegedly voted improperly. But Jon Ralston, editor of The Nevada Independent, a nonprofit news organization, noted in a Nov. 6 tweet that the list includes Nevadans in the military who voted absentee. "Many on list sent to the DOJ have these postal codes: AE, AA and AP: Armed Forces Europe, Armed Forces Americas and Armed Forces Pacific," Ralston said.
The list does not include voters’ names, but does show other identifying information. It includes the city, state, and zip code where one voter moved from, and the city, state, and zip code where the voter moved.
For instance, the first page of the list says that "vote cast record 28" moved from Las Vegas, Nev., and lists as the new city "FPO" and as the new state "AE."
The Defense Department says that "FPO" stands for Fleet Post Office, and is associated with Navy installations and ships. The U.S. Postal Service says that "AE" should be used as the "state" abbreviation for Armed Forces in Europe.
Nevadans who go to college out-of-state and other people who leave the state temporarily can also get a ballot at a new address.
So the list produced by Trump’s lawyers on its own does not prove whether the identified people cast a vote illegally.
Nevada Republicans said they found "at least 3,062 instances of voter fraud. ... Thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from NV."
The GOP lawyers issued a list that they say shows more than 3,000 people who were no longer living in Clark County by the time they cast their ballots. The list alone does not prove a violation of the law.
People who move within 30 days before an election can cast a vote in their new state, or in their prior state of residence, in-person or via absentee ballot. A Nevadan who goes to another state for college can also request a ballot. The list from Trump’s lawyers also included addresses for Americans serving overseas in the military.
The burden of proof is on the speaker making the claim. The information released so far by Trump’s team does not confirm their claim.
We rate the claim False.
RELATED: Donald Trump’s Pants on Fire claim about illegal votes
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Twitter, @NVGOP tweet, Nov. 5, 2020
Twitter, @RalstonReports tweet, Nov. 6, 2020
Twitter, @RileySnyder tweet
Facebook, Team Trump post, Nov. 6, 2020
Scribd.com, Upload by Reno Gazette Journal, Stokke Lawsuit
Rev.com, Nevada Press Conference Election Count Update Transcript Nov. 5, 2020
Documentcloud.org, NV Moved Voters - Contributed by Riley Snyder (The Nevada Independent)
Nevada Secretary of State website, Elections page
USPS.com, 225 Military Addresses, Military & Diplomatic Mail
Defense.gov, What are APO/FPO/DPO addresses, and how can I send a care package to one?
Email interview, Jennifer A. Russell, spokesperson for Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske, Nov. 6, 2020
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