Democratic State Senator Melanie Scheible (SD-9) has introduced legislation mandating polling places in city and county jails. SB 162 authorizes the county clerk, county sheriff and jail administrator to establish a polling place within the jail and allows same day voting and registration on the day of the election. The law does not authorize the person convicted of a felony to have their rights restored at the polling place.
The bill’s language is as follows:
Section 1 of this bill requires each county clerk, county sheriff and person who administers the jail of a city in the county to coordinate to establish one polling place in each county jail and city jail exclusively for prisoners in the jail who are registered voters in the county to vote in person on the day of a primary election, presidential preference primary election or general election. Section 1 further provides that if prisoners of the county or city are detained in another county pursuant to certain interlocal agreements, the county clerk shall coordinate with the sheriff or person who administers the jail of the city in the county where the prisoners are located to establish a polling place for those prisoners. Also, section 1 clarifies that, with certain exceptions, the provisions of election law apply to the polling places established in jails, voting at such polling places and registering to vote on the day of the election at these polling places. Finally, section 1 clarifies that nothing in section 1 authorizes a person convicted of a felony in this State who has not had his or her right to vote or register to vote restored to vote or register to vote at a polling place established in a county or city jail.
In response to this legislation, Victor Joecks of The Review Journal quipped:
If you’re traveling on Election Day, you need to return your mail ballot. But if you’re imprisoned for committing a crime, Democrats will bring the ballot box to you.
The bill is an encapsulation of where the parties are on public safety. Lawmakers wrap election bills, even the good ones, in high-minded ideals. But the unmentioned truth is that almost no politician supports an election reform they think will lead to more votes for their opponents. Consider how upset the Democrats nationally were about Republican redistricting efforts over the past two years. That didn’t keep Nevada Democrats from ruthlessly redistricting to protect their legislative majorities and congressional delegation. Democrats have a supermajority in the Assembly despite winning fewer than 42 percent of the total votes cast in Assembly race.
Republicans have submitted legislation to meet the Governor Lombardo’s goal of streamlined, modern, and secure elections. This session, Assemblyman Gregory Hafen will present a bill that makes photo ID a requirement to vote in Nevada. Assemblyman Ken Gray has prepared a bill that requires that ballots to be counted be received no later than 5 p.m. on Election Day. Assemblyman Toby Yurek’s bill calls for an election investigation unit to search for and expose any fraud. Assemblywomen Jill Dickman, Heidi Kasama and Alexis Hansen also will present bills to increase election integrity in Nevada.
Yet, during the Democratic response to Governor Lombardo’s State of the State, Speaker of the Assembly Steve Yeager proclaimed that any legislation related to voter integrity would be “dead on arrival.”
Being that Governor Lombardo has championed election integrity reforms, it is likely that Sheible’s bill will be “dead on arrival” should it pass both chambers.
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