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June 2, 2015

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Washoe County voter registrar inundated by faulty voter registration forms

Updated Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 | 4:20 p.m.

Washoe County Registrar Dan Burk said today his office has been inundated by hundreds of faulty voter registration forms with errors ranging from an illegible name to the listing of fake or non-existent addresses.

Burk estimated his office has 1,000 voter registration forms pending with problems that prevent his staff from entering them into the system.

“We have applications that are so badly done that some can’t be processed and others that we have processed but the voters can’t be considered registered because they had no address or signature on the form,” Burk said.

Burk said faulty forms come in every cycle, but the number this year has become “overwhelming.”

“This is more than I can remember in any of the years I’ve been here,” Burk said.

He’s been Washoe County Registrar since the 2000 election. Washoe County is considered a swing county in the presidential and senate elections this year and has been the focus of intense attention by both political parties.

Burk said the irregular forms are coming in from “both parties, both presidential campaigns” and that he can’t pinpoint one firm that is responsible for the bulk of the bad forms.

The Republican National Committee today announced it is cutting ties with the voter registration firm it hired to operate in five battleground states, including Nevada, according to NBC News.

The RNC fired the firm after election officials in Palm Beach, Fla., discovered 108 fraudulent voter registration forms submitted by the Republican firm, Strategic Allied Consulting.

Darren Littel, the RNC's Nevada spokesman, said they've encountered no problems with the vendor in Nevada.

"We have zero tolerance for any threat to the integrity of the election," Littel said. "When informed of an alleged incident in Florida we cut all ties to the company."

Burk said he has not yet asked the secretary of state to investigate any of the irregularities his office has discovered. Burk’s priority now is to send letters to the affected voters to determine if they are legitimate or not.

“We need to reach those voters who are qualified voters,” he said.

Secretary of State Ross Miller said it is his office’s practice to neither confirm nor deny the existence of ongoing investigations.

Assistant Clark County Registrar Donna Cardinelli said her office has not noticed anything “abnormal.”

“With the volume we are doing, we are getting our share of addresses that are not legible, things like that,” she said. “But not anything out of the norm.”

Burk said at this point he’s chalking the irregular forms up to the “economic incentive” voter registration firms have for gathering forms and not any intentional fraud. State law allows parties and campaigns to pay vendors to register voters.

“But, yes, sometimes we get something suspicious,” Burk said. “Like two or three applications with exactly the same handwriting on it.

“Obviously, if we see a pattern, it is going to take us a little while to look into it, and we’ll work with the secretary of state.”

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