Bill expanding mail-in voting for general election passes in Nevada Senate


John Sadler

The Legislative Building in Carson City is the seat of Nevada state government.

Sun, Aug 2, 2020 (12:17 p.m.)

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Legislature has passed a bill extending mail-in ballot provisions for the November general election because of concerns over voting safety during the pandemic.

The bill passed out of the Assembly on Friday on party lines, and was voted out of the Senate on party lines Sunday morning. No Republicans supported the measure in either chamber.

The bill would send $3 million to the secretary of state’s office for the rollout of mail-in ballots. Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske said her office had not been preparing for a large mail-in election.

Though the bill vastly expands mail-in ballot provisions, it does not do away with in-person voting locations.

The bill requires in-person voting locations based on population rates. Clark County must have at least 100 in-person voting sites, Washoe County must have at least 25 and each other county must have at least one.

In-person early voting locations are required as well. Based on population rates, Clark County would have 35 in-person sites, Washoe County would have 17 and every other county would have one.

The bill received criticism from Republican lawmakers for a provision that would allow for the delivery of ballots by non-family members. Many Republican lawmakers raised concerns this would allow potential ballot harvesting.

The bill received attention from President Donald Trump, who posted on Twitter that it should be met with “immediate litigation.”

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, criticized Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Convention, after McDaniel tweeted that Democrats were looking to “create more opportunities for fraud and allow ballot harvesting.”

“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a partisan hack like you use this pandemic to suppress Nevadans’ right to vote,” Cannizzaro tweeted. “Nevada will have a free, fair and secure election this November.”

Nevada Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy, who is also an assemblyman representing a Las Vegas district, pushed back on Trump’s statement, saying that Democrats will not be “intimidated,” and said the measure is needed due to the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s lackluster response to it.

“Trump and his allies have always been motivated by partisanship, even at the expense of American lives,” he said in a statement. “That he would threaten Nevada Democrats’ work to protect voting access through a crisis of his own making is both despicable and par for the course.”

The bill now goes to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk for his signature.

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