BUSTED? Dems Accuse RNC Of Lying About Poll Watchers In Nevada

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National Democrats produced evidence Monday that they claim shows the Republican National Committee is lying about not deploying poll watchers to early voting sites in Nevada.

The new evidence was filed in an ongoing legal case against the RNC that concerns allegations that the RNC has violated a federal consent decree dating back to the 1980s that limits its participation in so-called “ballot security” activities at election sites. Democrats are seeking to have the restrictions on the RNC’s Election Day activities extended for another eight years.

A letter filed by Angelo Genova, a lawyer representing the Democratic National Committee in the case, said that the Democrats had evidence that the RNC “has and continues to engage in one or more ballot security initiatives utilizing poll watchers in Nevada,” which he described as “contrary to the sworn declarations submitted earlier today, and the clear statements of its counsel.”

The evidence filed by the Democrats Monday includes affidavits from three different Democratic poll observers who said they met fellow observers claiming to have been sent by the RNC to monitor early voting sites in Nevada. One affidavit includes a screen shot of a text message the alleged GOP poll observer sent the Democratic observer.

The screenshot comes from the affidavit of Ellyn Lindsay, a former assistant U.S. attorney in California who was observing a poll site for the Democrats in Las Vegas. In the affidavit, she said she met a woman named Kishanna Holland while they were both observing the early voting site at Arroyo Market Square on Saturday and Monday. Holland told Lindsay she was in Nevada on behalf of the RNC, according to the affidavit, but had also been told by the committee that she did not have to tell people she was working for Republicans.

Another affidavit, given by a California attorney named Michael Lieberman, also recounts meeting a Kishanna Holland while they were both observing the Arroyo Market Square polling place. Holland first introduced herself as an independent observer, but as their conversations throughout the day revealed her conservative leanings, Holland admitted to working for the RNC, according to the affidavit, and told Lieberman that an RNC memo had instructed her to lie about her affiliation.

Lieberman also says in the affidavit that he met a second self-identified RNC poll observer named Joanne.

The third affidavit was provided by a California engineer named Scott Forstall and details his interactions with two different GOP observers. The first, named Onita Petersen in the affidavit, said she was an independent observer but later confirmed that she had been sent to the specific poll site in East Las Vegas by the RNC, according to the affidavit. The second alleged observer is only named as Charlene, and Forstall testified that she had also described herself as working with the RNC.

In accusing the RNC of violating the consent decree, Democrats are asking the court to hold the committee in contempt and to extend the decree another eight years, as it is set to expire in December 2017. Republicans have argued that they have followed the decree, and that the RNC has not been participated in any of the poll watching activities prohibited by it.

[H/T Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
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