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STEVE SEBELIUS: Make policy on facts, not fictions

You might be tempted to give Jim Marchant credit for consistency.

The former assemblyman and Republican nominee for secretary of state has been a proponent of the notion that elections in Nevada are fraudulent. He believes it so much, in fact, that he doubted his own victory in this month’s primary.

“I’m not really confident in the result,” Marchant told the Review-Journal’s Nick Robertson. “There’s a lot of doubts in electronic voting systems. Fraud is a harsh word, but there could have been anomalies — malicious or accidental — based on what I’ve heard.”

Then again, if we’re to take Marchant at his word, we’d also have to discount all elections in the state of Nevada, at least since 2006. That’s the year former Republican Secretary of State Dean Heller left office and Democrat Ross Miller took over.

Speaking on the “Flyover Conservatives” podcast in January, Marchant said that liberal donors including George Soros had spent millions electing “liberal, progressive” secretaries of state. And he added: “And in Nevada, and maybe other places all over the country, we haven’t elected anybody since 2006. They have been installed by the deep state cabal. We have had no say so in our election process in Nevada.”

But that presents a problem for Marchant. He won both the primary and general elections in 2016 for a seat in the state Assembly, under the administration of Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who nobody would describe as a “liberal progressive.” He also won a primary for Congressional District 4 in 2020, beating out seven other candidates. And now he’s won a primary for secretary of state.

So, if Marchant is right, then he’s been installed by the deep state cabal! Can we trust someone who’s a deep state caballer?

But seriously, Marchant has only lost two races in his political career in Nevada: the 2018 general election in Assembly District 37, and the general election in the 4th Congressional District in 2020.

In that case, Marchant claimed fraud and asked a judge to overturn the results. He was denied, with the judge citing a margin of loss of more than 16,000 votes.

Perhaps that explains why Marchant has become so evangelical denouncing alleged voter fraud, calling for an end to the use of electronic voting machines and a return to paper ballots that are hand-counted. (If you thought election results took a long time to come in on primary night, wait until 1.4 million Clark County voters show up at the polls with paper ballots.) Marchant is also demanding an end to early voting and mail balloting. He says that, were he in office in 2020, he’d have refused to certify the victory for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. And he was even present when a group of Republicans signed fake Electoral College certificates claiming Trump, and not Biden, won Nevada in 2020.

The only problem with all of this? None of it is true.

The 2020 election was conducted properly. The votes were counted correctly. Biden won the state, by about the same margin that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Every lawsuit in every court — up to an including the Nevada Supreme Court — was dismissed. Boxes of election related complaints were investigated by Cegavske’s office, and none proved widespread fraud, certainly not enough to overturn the results of any election. The federal agency charged with overseeing cybersecurity said the 2020 election was America’s most secure. The same scenarios played out in courts across the country: In every forum where one is required to produce evidence to back up allegations, fraud-claiming plaintiffs failed.

In fact, there is more evidence for the existence of Bigfoot than there is for widespread voter fraud. The difference? Someone’s belief in Bigfoot doesn’t infringe on anyone’s voting rights. But someone’s belief in voter fraud might lead to actions that make elections less secure and even disenfranchise voters.

Can elections be made more secure, which Marchant says is his goal? Of course. But the way that is done — while ensuring that every single eligible voter is able to cast a ballot — is critical to the democratic process.

The truth is this: Marchant has had more success than failure during his career, but it had nothing to do with fraud or a deep state cabal. He convinced a majority of voters that he was the better candidate. And when the votes were properly counted, he won. That’s the way it works.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

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