With the country having had a number of major and controversial problems with elections over the last few years, it’s only natural for many to question the current process and seek to make how we elect our state and national officials more secure and safe.
Georgia started the trend of changing election laws or reforming them back in 2021, after what many people believe to be a complete failure of the voting process.
Now, the trend has spread to Nevada, which has become a major battleground state in recent years.
According to KLAS-TV, the bill was proposed in January by Republican Governor Joe Lombardo. Known as Senate Bill 405, the measure would seek to implement what Lombardo spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray calls “common sense” reforms, such as requiring voter identification and the end of universal mailing of mail-in ballots.
As Lombardo correctly noted in his January announcement of the bill, “We require people to have a valid form of identification to get on a plane, to operate a motor vehicle or to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, but not to cast a vote in an election. That is illogical.”
He and his chief of staff, Ben Kieckhefer, also believe it is something most voters agree with.
Of course, leaders of the Democratic-controlled legislature won’t admit as much. Instead, those like Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro say the proposed policy change is a “non-starter,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
And Nevada State Democratic Party Chairwoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno agrees, saying the measure would only roll “back voting rights” in the state. According to her, Lombardo is more “concerned with scoring political points by emboldening election deniers than giving Nevadans a voice at the ballot box.”
Along with requiring voter ID, the governor’s plan includes ensuring that voters have several options for ID. One would be a state-issued card with no cost to those who don’t have a driver’s license.
And as I mentioned above, the bill would also cut down the cost of sending out mail-in ballots to everyone, most of whom just throw them away.
As Lombardo says, the idea of sending out universal mail-in ballots to everyone in the state began when the COVID pandemic was in full swing, while many were nervous about the health risks of visiting the polls in person.
But now, with the pandemic officially declared over by President Joe Biden back in September, universal ballots have become not only expensive for the state to offer but completely “unnecessary.” Lombardo points out that he’s not banning mail-in ballots by any means. If someone wants one, they are more than welcome to request and receive one. But sending one out to 1.9 million voters isn’t necessary.
Additionally, SB 405 would change the deadline for those mail-in ballots to be received back by the state’s election office. Instead of not being due until four full days after Election Day, the bill recommends they be received by no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day.
As Ray says of the bill, it will “help restore faith and timeliness in our election system so that every Nevadan has confidence that our voting process is free and fair.”
Over the last few years, our election processes nationwide have caused many to begin to doubt and question whether our voices are actually being heard and matter. And it’s not just one side of the aisle saying this. In Arizona, for example, even some 60 percent of Democrats believe their right to vote was stepped on during the 2022 midterm elections.
Nevada clearly doesn’t want to find itself in the same situation. And therefore, Lombardo is seeking to make what seem to indeed be “common sense” reforms. We can only hope that most Democrats in that legislature can see sense in it. But I’m not holding my breath.