CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — A bill requiring ballots to be mailed to all Nevada voters passed during the special session and now awaits Governor Sisolak’s signature. Lawmakers passed the bill along party lines Sunday, but there’s some controversy surrounding it.
The Voting Rights Bill expands mail-in voting, just ahead of the 2020 election. Democrats say it’s important in the wake of COVID-19, but republicans believe it’ll lead to voter fraud.
Nevada senators voted along party lines just like the Assembly, passing the emergency Voting Rights Bill. The goal is to have as many people as possible cast their ballot for the 2020 election, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Assembly speaker Jason Frierson told 8 News Now this is all about access.
“Folks are able to vote safely and securely,” said Speaker Frierson.
The bill requires mail-in ballots to be sent to all registered voters. It also increases the number of in-person polling locations in certain counties.
You’ll remember during the June primary, voters were stuck in long lines for hours due to the limited number of voting sites.
For the general election, Clark County will need to have at least 35 locations for early voting and at least 100 locations on Election Day.
“We see just like COVID-19 has had a disparate impact on certain communities, that’s going to be exacerbated if we don’t do something to expand access to the polls for Election Day,” said Speaker Frierson.
The bill also allows what’s known as “ballot harvesting,” which is where someone else can turn in your ballot for you.
Republicans, including those protesting outside the Nevada legislature Sunday, argue this will lead to voter fraud.
“You have someone taking your ballot, could be filling it out for you, could be not voting the way you want to and it wouldn’t allow the integrity of the actual vote itself to be cast,” sai Michael McDonald, chairman of the Nevada Republican Party.
President Donald Trump called the bill “outrageous” on Twitter and even threatened legal action.
Nevada Democrats responded saying, “Democrats will not be intimidated. We stand with Nevadans and will do the necessary work to ensure every eligible voter can participate.”
“We have a voting problem in this country. And it’s not voter fraud. It’s a systemic under participation in the process,” said State Senator Dallas Harris.
The bill now heads to Governor Steve Sisolak, who’s expected to sign it into law.
Also important — a bill to help with Nevada’s unemployment payment problems was just introduced Sunday night.
Right now, state senators are talking to DETR about the bill, which among other things, would expand who gets unemployment benefits and speed up the process, so people can get payments faster.
8 News Now will be following this bill closely, so stay with us for updates.