Last Friday, the Nevada State Democratic Party sent a letter to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske following the order to move the June primary to an all-mail election. NV Dems understands the intention behind the decision to make this change to our primary election but we must do more to ensure every Nevadan has the opportunity to make their voice heard.
The SOS must ensure our election process meets our current circumstances in a way that prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of Nevadans without compromising the integrity of our elections by making changes such as sending ballots to all registered voters–not just those who are “active”–and expanding the number of well-organized and hygienic polling locations counties must offer.
Recommendations made by the Nevada State Democratic Party will make it possible for every eligible voter to have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming election and do so safely. These measures include:
- Requiring counties to provide more than just one in-person voting location in the state’s most populous counties and those with geographically distant population centers as well as offering an extended early vote period
- Doing so will prevent overcrowded polling locations and requiring rural voters to travel unreasonable distances to cast their ballots
- This will also allow for better assistance to voters with language barriers or disabilities
- Mailing ballots to ALL registered voters, not just “active” voters
- Suspending prosecutions of voter assistance for all elections in which absentee ballots are the primary method of voting
- This allows for community organizations to aide with collecting and delivering ballots
- Ending ballot rejections based on arbitrary determinations of signature mismatches
- Extending the signature cure period by at least two weeks
Implementing these measures are important for the June primary and will set a critical precedent for the general election should concerns of spreading the coronavirus remain in November.
During the 2016 Nevada primary, a majority of Nevadans participated in-person during the early voting period (50.5%) compared to a small percentage of Nevadans who cast an absentee ballot (10.5%).
Under the SOS’s current policy, 87% of Nevada’s population would be serviced by two voting centers.
Minority voters are less likely to vote by mail compared to white voters. In California, a comparable diverse electorate, Latinx voters were 11% less likely to vote by mail than white voters.
Additionally, minority voters are less likely to trust USPS will deliver their ballot. In California, 79% of white voters trust the postal service to deliver their ballots safely and on time, only 71% of Latinos, 68% of African-Americans, and 53% of Asian-American voters have the same level of trust.
A 2018 study of Florida found that in the two previous presidential elections, mail ballots from African-American and Latino voters were twice as likely to be rejected as ballots from white voters due to signature mismatch and other technical issues.
Limiting those who receive ballots to solely active voters would prevent thousands of Nevadans who are likely to vote in the primary regardless of being inactive. In 2016, thousands of Nevadans (33,084) reactivated their voter registration by participating in the election.
More than 250,000 registered Nevadans have an inactive status and would not receive a ballot per the SOS’s current policy. A copy of the letter can be found here and attached.