This week two years ago, two Northern Nevada Native American tribes contacted Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Washoe and Mineral counties, asking them help remove obstacles that made it harder for members of their tribes to vote. In the letters, the Pyramid Lake Paiutes and Walker River Paiutes requested registration sites and polling places on tribal lands, explaining that members of both tribes had to travel 70-90 miles to register to vote in-person or to participate in early voting. Their requests were denied, forcing the tribes to file a lawsuit against Cegavske for voter disenfranchisement. The tribes won the case.
The tribes sent letters in early August to the counties as well as the secretary of state’s office outlining their requests. The Pyramid Lake Paiutes requested eight days of voter registration, early voting from Oct. 22 through Nov. 4 and an Election Day site, all located at the tribal capital of Nixon. The Walker River Paiute Tribe requested six days of voter registration and early voting from Oct. 22 through Nov. 4, all located at the tribal capital of Schurz.
This isn’t the last time Cegavske would be faced with accusations of voter disenfranchisement. In January, a nonprofit group focused on election law sent Cegavske a letter claiming that tens of thousands of Nevadans may have been deprived of their right to vote due to likely illegal language on voter registration forms.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Sarah Abel released the following statement:
“It’s clear that Secretary Cegavske has demonstrated a pattern of behavior intended to prevent Nevadans from exercising their right to vote, and it’s unacceptable. Nevadans deserve a Secretary of State who will make voting more accessible so that eligible Nevadans have every opportunity to cast their vote. Today serves as a reminder that Barbara Cegavske is not that Secretary of State.”