Nevada Democrats push automatic mail-in balloting, unless voter opts out; proposal limits days for collection

Politics

AB4 only applicable to states of emergency

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Democrats in the Nevada Legislature have introduced a proposal to expand mail-in voting, but limit the number of days ballots can be accepted. While every registered voter in Nevada automatically received a ballot in November, the law that provided for that accommodation is only applicable to Nevada elections during states of emergencies.

Speaker Jason Frierson introduced Assembly Bill 321 on Wednesday. The proposal would require a person to opt-out rather than opt-in to receiving a mail-in ballot.

Current Nevada laws allows mail-in and absentee ballots to be accepted for seven days after the election. Frierson’s proposal would cut that time down to four days.

The bill would also require elections workers to take a class on signature verification. The proposal also requires the Secretary of State’s Office work with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to crosscheck a statewide active voter registration list.

Last month, Nevada Republicans introduced a bill to require a voter to provide proof of identity at the polls, but with Democrats controlling both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office, it likely will not move forward.

Major provisions of the Republicans’ legislation would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue voter identification cards to Nevadans without IDs. If a person’s identity is questioned at the polls, a person would have to “furnish proof of identity to respond to such a challenge,” a preliminary version of the bill reads.

Similar to the Democrats’ proposal, the Republicans’ proposed law would also require Nevada’s Secretary of State to match voter registration lists with records from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, specifically to crosscheck the names of dead Nevadans at least once a month. This process already happens at the county level, but not with a statewide standard other than to be “regularly maintained.” Current law also requires the DMV to work with the Social Security Administration to update the list.

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign had claimed 1,500 deceased Nevadans voted in the November election, but this claim was tossed out of court several times.

The I-Team found two instances of dead individuals having votes cast in their names. The Secretary of State’s Office, which is headed by a Republican, the Nevada Supreme Court and several judges said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud or 1,500 deceased voters having ballots cast in their names.

The Republicans’ bill would also require a person who casts a provisional ballot to provide proof of identity or sign an affidavit stating why they are voting provisionally. It would also tighten how absentee ballots are delivered. The ballots would have to be received by an election department by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Current law allows ballots to be accepted for several days after due to the speed of the U.S. Postal Service.

The proposed law would also require ballots be counted within 48 hours after polls close on Election Day. In November, it took more than a week for Clark County to finish the counting of its ballots due to the amount of mail-in ballots.

Nevada instituted a large mail-in ballot program amid the coronavirus pandemic, but its provisions are only applicable during states of emergencies.

Several lawsuits filed in court to deem the law invalid, which passed during a special session in August, failed.

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