Measures unlikely to pass Democrat-controlled legislature
CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — Nevada Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo is proposing sweeping changes to the state’s election laws, requiring identification to vote and limiting the acceptance of mail-in ballots to the close of business on Election Day.
The governor made the majority of the proposals during his State of the State address in January. Senate Bill 405 was entered into the legislative record on Monday.
Under the governor’s proposal, a Nevada voter would have to show a form of identification in order to vote. If a person does not have a driver’s license, the Department of Motor Vehicles could issue that voter a free identification card, the bill said.
Lombardo’s proposal changes existing state law, which requires voters opt-out rather than opt-in to receiving a mail-in ballot. Lombardo wants voters to have to opt-in rather than opt-out, the bill said.
All mail-in ballots would have to be received by 5 p.m. on Election Day, the proposal said. Current Nevada law allows mail-in ballots to be accepted for four days after an election. The change in the law, passed and signed by former Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, was a compromise and changed from seven days.
Colorado, which is a universal mail-in ballot state, requires all ballots to be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. In contrast, Utah, also a universal mail-in ballot state, requires ballots be postmarked one day before Election Day and received before the county canvass, several days later, according to vote.org.
Nevada is not a universal mail-in ballot state. Voters can choose to vote in person or by mail early or in person on Election Day. Registered voters can also opt out of receiving a mail-in ballot if they wish.
It took several days to tabulate hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots in Clark County during the 2020 and 2022 November elections. Former Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said the speed issue was less about volume and more about “statutory deadlines that prevent[ed] [him] from finishing early.”
Similar to another proposal Republicans made earlier this session, Lombardo’s bill requires a voter write the last four digits of their Social Security number or their driver’s license number on their mail-in ballot envelope next to their signature.
In addition to the signature verification, county clerks would have to verify one of the two numbers, the bill said.
There were more than 1.3 million registered voters in Clark County as of Tuesday. All mail-in ballots are processed in one location. It was unclear Tuesday what delays could happen with further verification procedures.
Lombardo’s proposal would also require a person who drops off a mail-in ballot on behalf of another person to submit an affidavit and a report to the Secretary of State’s Office. Dropoffs would be limited to 30 ballots.
“Not even halfway through the legislative session, Governor Lombardo is making his priorities clear: rolling back voting rights,” Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Daniele Monroe-Moreno said in a statement. “Lombardo is more concerned with scoring political points by emboldening election deniers than giving Nevadans a voice at the ballot box. As he prioritizes deadly conspiracy theories and MAGA extremists at the expense of Nevadans’ right to vote, it seems Lombardo has conveniently forgotten the law enforcement background he so often touts.”
The proposals are unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Lombardo said in January should the Legislature not work to make these changes, he would work to put the measures before a public vote.
Several people attempted to vote twice in the November election in Nevada, but not enough to sway any race result, the 8 News Now Investigators first reported in December. State investigators have identified people who attempted to vote twice, whether purposely or on accident. Each case is treated seriously until investigators determine no criminal intent.
State and county security measures identified the attempted double votes, tossing their second attempts from the system. The votes are not counted.
Measures the Nevada Legislature put in place in 2021, alongside the mail-in voting law, scrubbed voter rolls of non-eligible and deceased voters.
Audits and lawsuits filed in states, including Nevada, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The 8 News Now Investigators first reported Donald “Kirk” Hartle, 56, a registered Republican, was facing two charges relating to the 2020 election. In court last November, Hartle pleaded guilty to one charge of voting more than once in the same election. Hartle had reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison time and to change his plea after a year.
Hartle was the only case the Nevada Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted thus far in relation to the 2020 election.