On Dec. 14, 2020, as state electors around the country formalized the results of the 2020 presidential election by casting ballots in the electoral college, conservative personalities such as Antonio Sabato Jr. posted messages claiming that the GOP electors in Nevada, a state that was won by President-elect Joe Biden by more than 30,000 votes, had cast their ballots instead for U.S. President Donald Trump:
Sabato Jr. is referring to an unofficial ceremony held by a group of people pretending to represent Nevada’s state electors in which they cast fake ballots for Trump. This ceremony was unsanctioned, these people were not the state’s electors, and these fake ballots were unofficial.
A video (since deleted by YouTube) of the political cosplay event was broadcast by the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN).
While members of the Nevada GOP went through all the motions of an official ceremony — including a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — the actions shown in the video above have no legal weight. Nevada’s GOP electors did not cast any ballots for president in 2020 because they had no authority to do so.
The Nevada secretary of state (SOS) explains on its website that electoral college votes are cast by the electors of the winning party. As President-elect Joe Biden won the state of Nevada by more than 30,000 votes, the Democratic party chose the state’s official electors.
The Nevada SOS website explains:
Nevada’s political parties each select six electors who will cast Nevada’s Electoral College votes if their party’s candidate wins. After the presidential candidate who has the most votes in Nevada is declared the state’s winner, that candidate’s electors will travel to Carson City in December to cast votes for their candidate.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske presided over the official election ceremony that saw all six state electors cast their votes for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The Associated Press reported:
Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors awarded their votes to Joe Biden on Monday morning, becoming the first slate of electors from a battleground state to cast their votes.
The ceremony, which took place over Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic, took less than 20 minutes and finished without any surprises.
Electors signed pledges to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who received the most votes in the state, as required under Nevada’s faithful electors law, and then filled out seven copies of their votes for state and federal records.
Biden defeated Trump by 33,596 votes, or 2.4 percentage points, in Nevada. While Democrats’ margin of victory was similar to the 2016 election, the state’s slow vote-counting pace and a result that appeared tight on Election Night catapulted the western battleground into the national spotlight.
As The Associated Press noted, Nevada’s “Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act” requires the state’s electors to sign a pledge mandating them to cast their ballot for the candidate who received the most votes in the state. The pledge reads:
If selected for the position of presidential elector, I agree to serve as such and to vote only for the nominees for President and Vice President of the political party or the independent candidates who received the highest number of votes in this State at the general election.
The state of Nevada certified its elections results on Nov. 24, 2020. While the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn those results, the Nevada Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit. Biden won the presidential contest in Nevada with 703,486 votes compared to 669,690 for Trump. As such, the only electors in Nevada for 2020 were chosen by the Democrat party and those electors were legally required to cast their ballots for Biden.
Here’s a video of Nevada’s actual state electors casting their ballots for the 2020 presidential election: