During the November 9 edition of coup plotter Steve Bannon’s War Room show, Nevada Republican secretary of state nominee Jim Marchant begged Bannon’s listeners to volunteer for a hand count set to occur in rural Nye County, Nevada. The effort is linked to conspiracy theories and distrust in voting machines sown by the far-right.
Marchant is an election denier and the leader of a nationwide QAnon-connected coalition of candidates seeking “to take over election process[es] in key states” ahead of the 2024 presidential race. (Marchant has previously suggested that if he and his allies are elected, Democrats “can’t win” another election.) So far, several of the group’s endorsed candidates have lost their races in the general election, including Pennsylvania’s Doug Mastriano, Michigan’s Kristina Karamo, and New Mexico’s Audrey Trujillo. Several others lost their primaries earlier this year.
Now, with votes still being counted in the narrow race for Nevada secretary of state, Marchant appeared on Bannon’s show with a plea for his War Room audience.
“We’re actually doing a hand count. We’re asking for volunteers to come out,” Marchant told Bannon. “Come out and help us. It’d be historic. It’s going to be the first place in the country where we do that and we’re actually checking ballots and machines, so it’s going to happen.”
According to his campaign website, Marchant’s team is looking for 150 to 200 volunteers to help set a “precedent” of hand-counting in the state.
In August, election commissioners in Nye County appointed election denier and conspiracy theorist Mark Kampf as interim county clerk. Notably, Kampf promised “to hand count all ballots cast during this year’s general election — a change in election administration fueled by fears and conspiracy theories about the reliability of voting machines, despite a lack of evidence that significant errors exist or election fraud has occurred.” He will now be leading the official hand count, which must be completed by November 17.
Kampf and other Nye County officials began hand-counting ballots last month, long before the polls closed on November 8, leading Nevada Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to order the count to stop because it violated “state law regarding the early release of election results.” Commissioners agreed to wait until after polls closed.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada recently proposed an investigation into hand-count efforts after Nye County GOP Central Committee Vice Chair Laura Larsen allegedly removed an ACLU election observer from a counting room while carrying a firearm. The ACLU also filed a lawsuit over the hand-count process, claiming that reading votes out loud during the tally would allow “observers to overhear election results” and “violated state law prohibiting the release of voting results from mail ballots prior to the close of polls on Election Day.” The group will now conduct the count in silence.