For the last few days, Democrats in Washington, DC held up a relief bill over a laundry list of liberal policy goals having absolutely nothing to do with the ongoing Chinese coronavirus crisis, including…
“The election law changes Democrats are demanding,” writes Richard Viguerie at ConservativeHQ, “are a death sentence for Republican election prospects, the conservative movement, and constitutional liberty. And they must be opposed with absolutely no compromise by Capitol Hill Republicans.”
Among their election law demands: Mandatory automatic mail-in balloting…
…which the Nevada Secretary of State just ordered for our June 9 primary election late yesterday afternoon.
But before Republicans start hanging SoS Barbara Cegavske in effigy, there’s considerable confusion over the order; admittedly in no small part thanks to her office’s press release on the matter.
“Because of the many uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the immediate need to begin preparations for the 2020 primary election, it became necessary for me to take action regarding how the election will be conducted,” said Cegavske. “Based on extensive conversations with Nevada’s 17 county election officials, we have jointly determined that the best option for the primary election is to conduct an all-mail election.”
But that may not be entirely accurate.
I’m now hearing that all 17 county election officials sent Cegavske letters demanding that the election be changed to an all-mail election.
And while I still haven’t been able to find it in NRS, I’ve been told that because all 17 counties demanded this step, Cegavske’s hands were tied.
Maybe she was just trying to give them some cover.
So here’s the list of county election officials, pulled from the Secretary of State’s website, in case you want to reach out and ask why they submitted their letter demanding an all-mail primary election…
Linda Rothery, County Clerk
155 N Taylor St, Suite 110
Fallon, Nevada 89406-2748
(775) 423-6028 FAX (775) 423-7069
CLARK COUNTY Elections Department:
Joe P. Gloria, Registrar of Voters
965 Trade Drive Suite A
North Las Vegas, NV 89030-7802
(702) 455-VOTE (8683) FAX (702) 455-2793
CLARK COUNTY Elections Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 3909
Las Vegas, Nevada 89127-3909
Kathy Lewis, County Clerk
1616 8th Street, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 218
Minden, Nevada 89423-0218
(775) 782-9014 FAX (775) 782-9016
LaCinda “Cindy” Elgan, County Clerk
233 Crook Avenue
P.O. Box 547
Goldfield, Nevada 89013-0547
(775) 485-6367 FAX (775) 485-6376
Lisa C. Lloyd, County Clerk
181 North Main Street , Suite 201
P.O. Box 90
Pioche, Nevada 89043-0090
(775) 962-8077 FAX (775) 962-5180
Christopher Nepper, Clerk/Treasurer
105 South “A” Street, Suite 1
P.O. Box 1450
Hawthorne, Nevada 89415-0400
(775) 945-2446 FAX (775) 945-0706
Lacey Donaldson, County Clerk
398 Main Street
P.O. Box 820
Lovelock, Nevada 89419-0820
(775) 273-2208 FAX (775) 273-3015
Vanessa Stephens, County Clerk
26 S. “B” Street
Virginia City, Nevada 89440-0139
(775) 847-0969 FAX (775) 847-0921
WASHOE COUNTY Elections Department:
Deanna Spikula, Registrar of Voters
1001 E. Ninth Street, Bldg A, Rm 135
Reno, NV 89512-2845
(775) 328-3670 FAX (775) 328-3747
Let me know what you hear.
Now, whether Cegavske was legally required to give in to their demand or not, it appears the only way to un-ring this bell – short of a court-ordered injunction – is for the governor or the Legislature to call a special session and instead DELAY the election for 30, 60 or even 90 days.
Us “old-timers” in Nevada remember when our primary elections were held in the beginning of September. So there’s ample precedent for doing so again under these circumstances.
But don’t hold your breath waiting. Remember, Democrats WANT mandatory mail-in elections. And Democrats control the governor’s office and the Legislature.
UPDATE on Nevada’s Mail-In Election Fiasco
The Secretary of State’s order changing Nevada’s primary election to an all-mail election statewide is yet another major corona-mess. But I’ve finally learned what’s being argued as the legal basis for the decision in Nevada Revised Statute…
NRS 293.213 Mailing precincts; absent ballot mailing precincts.
1. Whenever there were not more than 20 voters registered in a precinct for the last preceding general election, the county clerk may establish that precinct as a mailing precinct.
2. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 293.208, the county clerk in any county in which an absent ballot central counting board is appointed may abolish two or more existing mailing precincts and combine those mailing precincts into absent ballot precincts. Those mailing precincts must be designated absent ballot mailing precincts.
3. In any county in which an absent ballot central counting board is appointed, any established precinct which had less than 200 ballots cast at the last preceding general election, or any newly established precinct with less than 200 registered voters, may be designated an absent ballot mailing precinct.
4. A county clerk may establish a mailing precinct or an absent ballot mailing precinct that does not meet the requirements of subsection 1, 2 or 3 if the county clerk obtains prior approval from the Secretary of State. (my emphasis)
5. The county clerk shall, at least 14 days before establishing or designating a precinct as a mailing precinct or absent ballot mailing precinct or before abolishing a mailing precinct pursuant to this section, cause notice of such action to be:
(a) Posted in the manner prescribed for a regular meeting of the board of county commissioners; and
(b) Mailed to each Assemblyman, Assemblywoman, State Senator, county commissioner and, if applicable, member of the governing body of a city who represents residents of a precinct affected by the action.
This statute was clearly adopted to address concerns about precincts with a small number of registered voters in them.
What these county clerks and registrars are trying to do is apply this statute – specifically section (4) – to EVERY precinct in their ENTIRE county for reasons that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the number of registered voters in a precinct.
It is, to say the least, a stretch of metaphysical proportions.
Nevertheless, even if you accept the premise that this statute can be applied to an entire county for reasons other than the number of registered voters, it can only be done with “prior approval from the Secretary of State.”
The statute doesn’t REQUIRE the Secretary of State to grant their request. It simply says the Secretary of State has the power to approve or not approve the request.
Alas, in her press release yesterday Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske gave blanket approval to all 17 counties to declare their ENTIRE county a “mailing precinct.”
She had the power to say no, but didn’t. So yes, she owns this.
Now, about that 14-day notice the county clerks have to give: Does this mean the county commissions can over-rule them? No one seems to know. Yet. But it’s being looked into.
Meanwhile, one of my readers received an email from the Nye County Clerk providing her reasoning for demanding a mail-in election. Here’s what Sandra Merlino wrote…
“You may have heard that Nevada is going to conduct the Primary Election by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic which means I won’t need poll workers for early voting or election day. We came to this decision with the safety of our workers and the voters in mind.”
Another reader got this explanation from Joe Gloria, Registrar of Voters for Clark County…
“The situation with coronavirus and workers/voters being concerned with getting out and being exposed to the virus will not change in thirty or sixty days. This could stretch into July or August, and even further for that matter. The larger issue here is limiting the spread of the virus, mail ballot voting is the only answer to limit exposure and still allow voters the ability to vote.”
Oh, horsesh…er, feathers. Consider this:
- Georgia moved its primary to May 19 – WEEKS before Nevada’s scheduled primary
- Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island and Delaware have moved their primaries to June 2 – again, BEFORE Nevada’s scheduled primary
- Louisiana postponed its primary to June 20 and Kentucky moved its to June 23 – just days after Nevada’s scheduled primary
So all of these other states will be holding THEIR primaries around the same time Nevada is saying it’s too risky? I guess all those states don’t care about the safety of their workers and voters, right?
But you wanna know what’s REALLY scary about Mr. Gloria’s response?
If this rationale is accepted and implemented for the primary, the same excuse will be used to make our GENERAL election a mail-in election.
One final note on this…
If it’s secure for people to simply sign a ballot and mail it in for an election, why isn’t it secure for someone to sign, say, a RECALL PETITION and mail it in?
As it stands right now, unless there’s been a change in the law I’m unaware of, the only way to sign a recall petition or ballot initiative petition and mail it in is if you have it NOTARIZED first.
If you don’t have to have your signature notarized to vote, why do you have to have your signature notarized to sign a petition. Makes. No. Sense.