Nevada county election official in charge of controversial 2022 hand-count resigns.

Reno — The county got a resignation letter from the top elections official in a small Nevada county roiled by fraudulent election fraud charges that led to a disputed hand-count in the 2022 midterms. The resignation of Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf was unclear. The letter just stated his retirement effective March 31, and a county official could not confirm the cause on Thursday. Kampf told The Associated Press she would not speak by phone.

He took the job after the county commission unanimously voted to eliminate voting equipment amid rumors of a stolen 2020 election. The commission wanted every vote counted by hand, making the county one of the first in the nation to act on election conspiracies, forcing the old county clerk to quit.

Kampf did a hand-count, but it was very different from the intention to make it the county's main approach. The county used machines predominantly and a hand-count as a test run for future elections. It didn't seem to acquire traction before 2024.

Kampf's biggest hand-count conflict was with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, which had led to lawsuits, secretary of state complaints, and Nevada Supreme Court rulings that changed Nye County's parallel hand-count plan. The ACLU claimed hand-counting was inefficient, endangered voting integrity, and was based on bogus electoral conspiracies.

In late October 2022, they began counting early ballots, but the ACLU challenged and the secretary of state ordered the hand-count to cease after two days. Only after polls closed could the count resume. “As my mom said, if I don't have anything nice to say, probably don't say it at all,” ACLU of Nevada executive director Athar Haseebullah said in an interview after the announcement Thursday. So I still have nothing pleasant to say after all these years.”

Kampf was recruited by Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, who claimed that every Nevada elected official since 2006 was “installed by the deep state cabal” and led a group of 17 election skeptics nationwide competing for state election positions. Marchant and 15 of the remaining 16 Republican alliance members lost their campaigns in a rebuke of far-right candidates who questioned 2022 elections.

New England and rural Wisconsin townships employ hand-counting most. According to Verified Voting, which analyzes voting technology among states, 658 continental U.S. jurisdictions used hand-counting completely in the 2022 midterms, with the vast majority having fewer than 2,000 registered voters.

The most populous continental U.S. county to use purely hand-counting was Idaho's Owyhee County, with 6,315 registered voters in 2020. Over 33,000 voters were registered in Nye County, between Las Vegas and Reno.

Cisco Aguilar, Nevada's Democratic Secretary of State who defeated Marchant, complimented Kampf for running county elections, “which is challenging even under the best of circumstances,” in an email. Aguilar said election officials are under severe scrutiny and pressure while being the backbone of democracy. I appreciate Mr. Kampf's willingness to help with our office to ensure Nevada elections' success.

Kampf's resignation continues Nevada's county election official turnover. The Associated Press reported that 11 of the state's 17 counties have had top county election roles change since 2020, mainly between 2020 and the 2022 midterms. Nye County was previously included owing to the prior clerk's resignation.

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