Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford has opened an investigation into the six Republicans who submitted false electoral certificates claiming that Donald Trump won Nevada in the 2020 presidential election, despite Joe Biden winning the state by more than 33,000 votes.
Ford’s office confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that it has been working with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is also probing the fake elector scheme in several swing states as part of the Jan. 6 investigation into the Capitol riot.
“The actions of these individuals are not only reprehensible, but they are illegal. We will not tolerate any efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will hold those responsible accountable,” Ford said in a statement.
The fake electors, who called themselves the “Nevada Republican Presidential Electors,” appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C., on November 12, 2023, according to NBC News. They were among the dozens of Republicans across the country who signed and sent phony documents to the National Archives, falsely asserting that Trump had won their states.
One of the fake electors, Jill Stokke, who also filed a lawsuit challenging the election results in Nevada, told NBC News that they did not intend to participate in any insurrection.
“We followed the process that was outlined by the Nevada Republican Party,” Stokke said.
However, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who certified the election results and rejected the fake electors, denounced their actions as a “slap in the face” to the people of Nevada, the Constitution and democracy.
“It’s very disappointing that people would try to usurp the authority of the duly elected electors,” Cegavske told CNN in an interview.
Nevada lawmakers passed a bill in May that would make creating or serving on a false slate of electors a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The bill was sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, a Democrat, who said he wanted to prevent any future attempts to subvert the will of the voters.
“We’re not going to let this go. We’re going to make sure that the people of Nevada know that their votes counted, and that we have free and fair elections in this state,” Frierson said.
The bill has not been signed by Governor Joe Lombardo, a Republican who has not publicly denounced the fake electors, and who is running for U.S. Senate in 2024. Lombardo’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The fake elector scheme is one of the many ways that Trump and his allies have tried to overturn the 2020 election, which was marred by baseless claims of fraud and numerous lawsuits that failed to overturn the results. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in July that the Justice Department would investigate and prosecute any violations of federal law in connection with the scheme.
“This is a serious federal crime. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that those who participated in this attack on our democracy are held accountable,” Garland said.
– Nevada’s attorney general is investigating fake electors who backed Trump in 2020, by Dareh Gregorian, NBC News, November 16, 2023
– Nevada ‘fake electors’ appear before D.C. Jan. 6 grand jury, by Natasha Korecki, Ryan J. Reilly, Victoria Ebner and Katherine Doyle, NBC News, November 13, 2023
– Nevada AG backs making fake elector schemes a felony in light of 2020, by Casey Harrison, Las Vegas Sun, November 13, 2023
– Nevada attorney general investigates alleged fake Trump 2020 electors, by John Bowden, The Hill, November 16, 2023