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Breaking Down the Law Nevada’s Emergency Mail-In Voting Law

Nevada’s Emergency Mail-In Voting Law

During the most recent special session, the Nevada legislature passed a mail-in voting bill, which was signed into law by Governor Sisolak on Monday.

The bill passed along party lines, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against the bill.

The bill has been criticized by President Trump, and his campaign filed suit last night to have the bill declared unconstitutional.

What is included in the new bill, how could it affect voting in the upcoming election, and what is involved in the Trump campaign’s lawsuit? Here to discuss the bill is attorney Matt Hoffmann with Battle Born Injury Lawyers.

Thanks, etc.

  1. I guess the big question everyone has is what is in this bill and what does it mean for Nevada voters?
  • I think it is important for people to know they can STILL VOTE IN PERSON.
    • You will likely receive a mail-in ballot, but you can turn it in when you go to vote, or sign an affidavit and vote if you didn’t get one or lost one.
  • As for the bill itself, there’s a LOT, so I’ll stick to the highlights.
  • First of all, this new law ONLY applies during a declared State of Emergency or Declaration of Disaster.
  • But it was clearly written for THIS election.
  • Second, Nevada already had a law allowing for mail-in voting.
  • But you had to REQUEST to vote by mail and meet certain conditions.
  • Under this new law, EVERY registered voter is sent a mail-in ballot with a pre-paid return envelope, whether it is requested or not.
  • And what is mailed CANNOT be forwarded.
    • So if a registered voter moves but the new address is not known to election officials when the mail-in ballots are sent, the ballot goes to the old address and stays there.
      • Obviously that raises a concern for Fraud.
  • Third, mail-in ballots must be post-marked on or before the date of the election and received within seven (7) days of the election.
    • So the actual results of mailed in ballots may not be known for a WEEK after the election.
  • And if a ballot is NOT post-marked but received w/n 3 days of the election, it is deemed valid and will be counted.
  • This is one of the provisions the Trump campaign is pointing to as making the law Unconstitutional.
  • The bill also expands the ability for people to have OTHERS complete their ballots for them and turn them in.
  • And this is the most controversial part of the bill – Ballot Harvesting.
  1. What is Ballot Harvesting and why is it such a concern?
  • In essence, Ballot Harvesting allows others to collect and turn in peoples’ ballots.
    • Anyone can do it if they are “authorized” by the voter.
      • But no definition is given to determine if someone was “authorized” to turn in someone’s ballot.
  • And this is a big concern when it comes to potential voter fraud.
    • In Florida they call it “Granny Farming,” because people will go to nursing homes and collect ballots for residents.
      • The concern is these residents are influenced on who to vote for by those collecting the ballots.
    • So the concern people have is that voters will be influenced to vote certain ways by political workers who can now go to neighborhoods or mass-dwellings (apartments) under the pretext of “helping” people submit their ballots.
  • But the biggest overall concern people should have – and it’s the biggest concern I have – is that mail-in ballots have a much higher rate of lost votes than traditional voting.
  • There was an MIT paper published in 2012 looking at the 2008 election.
    • The paper found that over 21% of mail-in ballots (over 7.5M votes) ended up not being counted
  • So Fraud is not necessarily the concern – it can be as simple as people not filling out the ballot properly, not mailing it on time, forgetting to sign it, things like that.
    • But if there is a 1 in 5 chance your vote will not be counted, people should definitely be concerned.
  1. And the Trump Campaign’s lawsuit – what are they alleging to be wrong with the bill?
  • The biggest issue is allowing ballots with no post-mark to be accepted if received w/n 3 days of the election.
  • First, the law requires pre-paid envelopes to be sent to voters.
  • But, generally, pre-paid envelopes are NOT postmarked.
    • This is the issue they are dealing with in New York, where a couple elections are STILL not decided, because mail-in ballots were not counted due to the fact they were not post-marked.
  • Second, and this is the big issue, inter-city mail generally takes 3 days or less.
    • So, you could have ballots mailed the day AFTER the election, and if there is no post-mark but it is received by the Friday after the election, they’d still be counted.
    • This violates Federal Election Law.
  • The other contention of the Trump campaign deals with voter sites.
    • Under the law, there are more available per capita in counties like Washoe (Reno) than in rural counties.
      • And it is a BIG difference – 1 polling place per 40,000 voters in Lyon County versus 1 per 12,000 voters in Washoe county.
      • So the Trump campaign is