Elko County Commission votes to study feasibility of hand counting

Elko County commissioners voted Wednesday to have the clerk’s office analyze the suitability of using hand counting and paper ballots in the 2024 general election to ease voter worries about election fraud.

Some Nevada counties, including Nye, have attempted to move toward paper ballots and hand counting amid unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud after the 2020 election.

But a hand count won’t be possible for the June primary because that election is fewer than 90 days away. Commissioners are giving themselves until July to decide on whether to submit a hand-counting plan to the state for the general election. 

The clerk’s office recently conducted a sample hand count that found counting would take 1.78 minutes per ballot — meaning it could take more than 27 days of nonstop counting if turnout equals that of 2020. 

Elko County Clerk Rebecca Plunkett told the commissioners that her office is busy getting ready for the primary election but will still look into the feasibility of using entirely paper ballots.