CARSON CITY, Nev. – Civil-rights groups are cheering for a big voting-rights package that passed the state Senate late Monday and now goes to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk, pending a quick concurrence vote in the state Assembly.
Hear an audio report from Suzanne Potter.
AB 345 would establish same-day voter registration – meaning people could register on election day. Wesley Juhl, communications manager with the ACLU of Nevada, said this was a major priority for progressive groups once Democrats took over both houses and the governorship in 2018.
“It was a no-go under previous legislatures, previous administrations,” Juhl said. “So we’re just really excited to get same-day registration here in Nevada.”
The bill also would allow election officials to establish certain “universal” polling locations, where anyone in the county or city can vote, even if it isn’t their assigned polling place. It also would allow voters to register online – even on Election Day and during the early vote period.
Opponents of the bill say it could result in voter fraud. However Juhl said that fear is overblown. He pointed to a number of other states that have taken these same steps to make voting easier.
“People say that there’s going to be all sorts of fraud if we expand the franchise to include everyone, and that hasn’t proven true anywhere else,” he said. “So many other states have had same-day registration for a long time. ”
The bill also would allow people to permanently request an absentee ballot, rather than having to request a new one every election. This would be especially helpful for people who are elderly, disabled or who are deployed overseas. The bill was sponsored by the speaker of the Assembly, Jason Frierson.