5In her own words, former Mineral County Clerk Cherrie George gave the Independent-News her recount of her involvement regarding uncounted votes in the 2014 General Election.

“About a week after the Canvass of the Votes were certified by the Board of Mineral County Commissioners on Nov. 12, 2014, I was contacted by the Secretary of State’s Office (SoS) regarding the voter turnout report that had been submitted to the SoS. I was informed that the numbers reported on the voter turnout report were incorrect and I was asked to revise the report. I confirmed with one of the members of my staff that all General Election voter information had been entered into the AS400 voter registration database and then printed out the most current voter history report from the database. This voter history report was compared to the voter turnout report and the numbers were the same. I contacted the SoS to inform them that I found no discrepancy between the database and the turnout report. I was then informed that the voter turnout report numbers did not coincide with the total number of votes cast as was reported in the Canvass of the Votes.”

“The Canvass of the Votes is comprised of various reports generated and printed from the computerized election results software (WinEDS). WinEDS is the software used to program, read and tally the votes cast on the two types of machines used in Mineral County; the Edge machine which is used during Early Voting and on Election Day and the Optech paper ballot reader which is used to read mail-in and absentee paper ballots. Election equipment and software is provided and maintained by Dominion Voting Systems (previously Sequoia).”

“I reviewed the Canvass of Votes reports, as well as other reports available through the WinEDS program and discovered there was indeed a discrepancy – there were 178 more people who voted than the total number of votes tallied. Throughout the next several days, I was in almost daily contact with personnel from both the SoS and Dominion Voting Systems as we tried to determine the reason for the discrepancy.

“I has initially noticed that one of the Edge machine cartridges showed zero votes; however I believed at the time that it was the machine that had been taken down shortly after opening the polls on Election Day (due to a mechanical malfunction) and had assumed there were no votes cast on this particular machine prior to it being taken down so soon after polls opened. However, upon a more thorough review of the machine numbers, I realized the machine number was not one used on Election Day, but rather one used during Early Voting.”

“During the course of my internal investigation I gathered the printed paper rolls and results cartridge associated with this particular Edge machine from the office vault where election records are stored following an election. Throughout the investigative process these items and related data/reports were locked in a desk drawer in my private office. Storing these items in my desk provided easy access when the SoS and/or Dominion would contact me, and in my opinion also a more secure location.”

“Because the SoS was in the process of finalizing their election data and preparing for their Supreme Court’s Canvass, I was told to revise the voter turnout report so it would coincide with the number of votes tallied and although I did not agree, I did what I was instructed to do. However, this didn’t resolve the issue concerning the reason for the discrepancy and I continued my research. I viewed and printed (when this option was available) just about every report available through the WinEDS software program, some of which I’d never even seen before because they weren’t normally used in the course of our election reporting. I continued to stay in contact with both the SoS and Dominion personnel. I viewed/printed a report that reflected that ALL cartridges (from all machines used during the General Election) were not only read but processed successfully during the tally of the votes after the polls closed, including the cartridge that reflected a zero vote tally. Let me clarify that according to WinEDS reports: ALL cartridges were read and processed successfully even though the votes cast on one machine/cartridge failed to tally. “

“I contacted both the SoS and my primary contact at Dominion and relayed this information. I asked my Dominion contact to explain how a cartridge could be successfully processed but not tallied but there was no logical explanation provided to me. My Dominion contact asked me to copy the data from the results cartridge and send it to one of Dominion’s programmers, which I did. (Note: The results cartridge is an external data drive similar to a USB drive. It is used to load election data onto the Edge voting machines during pre-election programming [pre-lat] and then is used to transfer the data from the machine to the WinEDS software which is used to tally the votes after the polls close.) I never heard anything from Dominion’s programmer after I sent the cartridge data.”

“Once I had determined the discrepancy must have been due to a technical malfunction of some sort, I asked SoS personnel what should be done about the issue. I was told that SoS ‘legal’ had looked into the matter and, unfortunately because the Canvass of the Votes had already been certified, Nevada law didn’t provide an avenue in which to rectify the vote discrepancy. Basically, once the Canvass of the Votes is certified, the election results are deemed final and complete. However, I wasn’t convinced the matter was closed because I was still waiting to hear from Dominion about the problem. And this is the reason all the relevant records (two printed paper rolls from the Edge machine, various reports and the results cartridge) were kept locked in my desk drawer and separate from the other election records.”

“By the time I left my official post on Jan. 2, 2015, the records were still in the locked desk drawer. The keys to the desk and my internal office were turned over to the newly elected incoming Clerk-Treasurer upon my departure. If I had intended to “hide” the records they wouldn’t have been left in a desk drawer which would soon be accessed by another elected officer.”

“On or about Jan. 8 or 9, 2015 I received a phone call from SoS personnel asking if I would provide a response to Dominion’s explanation for the reason for the vote discrepancy. During the phone conversation, I was told similar situations had happened in at least two other Nevada counties but that they had discovered the problem early enough to reprocess the cartridge(s) prior to their counties’ Canvass of the Votes. I responded that I would be glad to provide a response and was told I would be receiving an email soon.”

“On Jan. 12, 2015 I received an e-mail form SoS personnel containing a four-sentence explanation from Dominion about 178 votes not tallied in Mineral County. Before I responded, I asked for clarification on certain technical language in the Dominion’s explanation. When the explanation was revised with accurate language, I responded in great detail documenting why I disagreed with Dominion’s explanation and provided those details. I received no response from anyone after I provided my response. “

“On Jan. 24 it was brought to my attention that people were posting comments on Facebook about voter/election fraud and related criminal activity in Mineral County. Some comments went so far as to mention that the Mineral County District Attorney was involved. I was able to make contact with the District Attorney that evening and demanded to know what was going on. He explained that records were discovered “hidden” in a desk drawer in the Clerk’s office and that he, the current Clerk and other office personnel were working with the SoS to determine what had happened. He also told me that the Clerk’s office personnel were advised to keep the matter confidential because there would be a criminal investigation conducted. When I asked what was meant by “criminal investigation” when he had already been in contact with the SoS and knew there was no fraud or criminal activity he admitted that he probably shouldn’t have used that particular language but stated there would be an investigation. The DA also told me that he was already aware of the Facebook comments and that the “voter fraud” and “criminal investigation” remarks had initially been posted by the spouse of a staff member of the Clerk’s office and that there would be repercussions for violating what was considered a confidential matter at this point.”

“Several times during our conversation I asked why I hadn’t been contacted, adding that I could have provided the factual information. I explained what had actually happened and that I had recently been contacted by the SoS, as well, to which he seemed surprised to hear. The DA said he had intended to call me on Monday (Jan. 26) to ask if I would answer some questions. I told him I would make myself available to answers any and all questions. To this day, I have NEVER been contacted or questioned.”

“On Jan. 26, I personally contacted SoS personnel and asked if there was a criminal investigation being conducted and if so why. I was told no criminal investigation was being conducted, nor was one necessary. My contact at the SoS seemed surprised by the chain of events occurring here in Mineral County adding that the DA had already been in contact with their office as early as Jan. 20 and had been provided all information relative to the matter.”

“Now here we are a month since “voter fraud” and “criminal activities” comments were posted on Facebook, misleading information reported to the media and phone calls made to candidates and others regarding this situation. Almost a month since I assured the DA that I would make myself available to answer any questions as part of any investigation he, or anyone else might be conducting. I’m still waiting to be questioned.”

“After I was in attendance of the Commissioner’s Meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 18, where election candidates and members of the public asserted their right to know exactly what happened, I’ve decided that I’ve waited long enough to speak out about what really happened. I want everyone to know that as your former County Clerk, I did everything I could within my official capacity (and within the confines of current Nevada election laws) in working and cooperating with the SoS and Dominion in this matter.”
“I’ve probably provided more details than I should have, but at least now you’ve got the truth that no one else can or will give you. Most of what I’ve stated here can be supported by election records (if they weren’t sealed), e-mails, phone records and statements by others involved should they be willing and/or able to provide them.”

“While I’m at it, I might as well address two very important questions that have been on everyone’s mind”:

Question #1: Had the votes from the machine been counted would it have changed the outcome of the election?

Answer: Based on the totals listed on the two printed rolls from the machine in question, if the total of votes cast for each individual candidate were to be added to the total of votes tallied and reported in the Canvass of the Votes, the win/loss outcome would be the same.

Question #2: How do I know my vote was counted?

Answer: I can’t answer that question because to be honest, I don’t know what machine you used. Because I no longer have access to the election records, I can’t even tell you what machine didn’t get counted. However, others who have had access to those records since I left office might have told you what machine didn’t get counted; maybe even exactly where it was located during the period of Early Voting. Perhaps you remember what machine you used or maybe someone saw you use a particular machine. I voted during Early Voting but I honestly don’t remember what machine I used so I don’t know if your vote was counted any more than I know if my vote was counted.

Once again, I’d like to say that I fully intend to cooperate and answer questions as part of any official investigation that might be conducted as I continue to maintain that I have nothing to hide nor have I done anything wrong; especially electoral fraud or criminal actions of any sort.”

Cherrie George

Former Mineral County Clerk-Treasurer