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Party, civic groups plead to expand voting options amid pandemic

by Nevada State News
Vote sign for election

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada State Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last week seeking to expand voting access for Nevada’s primary on June 9.

Several Nevadans, who say their right to vote is being infringed under the Secretary of State’s revised voting policies due to the coronavirus pandemic, are a part of the suit along with the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Priorities USA. The lawsuit was filed April 16 in the Eight Judicial District Court of Clark County.

Under the current policy, as outlined by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office, mail ballots would be sent to all active voters and in-person polling locations would be limited to one per county.

Democratic party officials say this the limited in-person option poses a greater harm because it draws many voters to one location where social distancing would be more difficult, an issue faced by voters in Wisconsin earlier this month. ‘Active’ voters are those who have a correct address on file, and Democrats say that leaves out potential voters.

The lawsuit seeks a number of remedies to ensure voters are able to vote safely, including:

  • Mailing ballots to all registered voters, not just those with “active” status;
  • Increasing the number of polling locations to reflect the population and geographic size of each county;
  • And, barring enforcement of the state’s voter assistance ban and ballot rejection rules.

“I understand the intention behind the decision to make changes to our primary election and applaud the expansion of vote by mail, but we must do more to ensure every Nevadan has the opportunity to make their voice heard,” said Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II in a statement about the lawsuit. “It is possible to adapt our election process to meet our current circumstances in a way that prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of Nevadans without compromising the integrity of our elections.”

In response to the lawsuit, Mi Familia Vota Nevada State Director, Cecia Alvarado, released a statement Monday expressing disappointment in the Secretary of State and stressing the importance of mail voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Mi Familia Vota Nevada demands that the Nevada Secretary of State implement the following in order to help Latino voters avoid being disenfranchised or endangering their lives in order to vote: expanded vote-by-mail including mailing all voters a ballot, adding additional in-person vote centers, and increased voter education including the translation of mail ballots and associated election materials” Alvarado said.

“At a minimum, these are the recommendations that are necessary in order to protect lives and our democracy.” 

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