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After Mail-In Midterm Mess, Gov. Lombardo Backs Bill To Restore Integrity To Nevada’s Election System

Lombardo introduced SB 405, which would implement voter ID requirements and commonsense reforms to Nevada’s unsupervised mail-in voting system.

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After his Democrat predecessor’s expansion of mail-in voting left Nevada’s elections in complete disarray, Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo is backing legislation designed to restore integrity to the state’s electoral system.

Last week, Lombardo introduced SB 405, which would implement voter ID requirements and commonsense reforms to Nevada’s unsupervised mail-in voting system. Under the bill, citizens would be required to show “proof of identity” in order to vote in person, which includes “a document or identity card” issued by Nevada, the United States, “or a federally recognized Indian tribe.” Residents voting by mail would be mandated to write their “driver’s license number or identification card number” or the “last four digits of [their] social security number” on their ballots.

Under current state law, “active registered voters are not required to provide identification.” Instead, election workers “compare signatures from voters as they cast a ballot to the signature on file from registration.” Voters in need of a state-issued form of ID would be permitted to acquire one free of charge from the Nevada DMV.

“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. This is illogical,” Lombardo said during his State of the State address earlier this year. Recent polling has shown strong support among Nevadans for voter ID requirements.

Other changes included in SB 405 are provisions placing safeguards on Nevada’s expansive and unsupervised mail-in voting system. As The Federalist’s Victoria Marshall previously reported, the state, then run by Democrats, “originally allowed a temporary expansion of vote-by-mail during the 2020 general election over coronavirus concerns,” but “made it the permanent law of the land” in 2021 by “requiring election officials to send out mail-in ballots to all of the state’s registered voters.”

SB 405 would not only repeal Nevada’s automatic vote-by-mail system by requiring voters to request their mail-in ballots, it would also mandate that such ballots be received by county clerks before polls close on Election Day in order to be counted. State law currently allows mail-in ballots to be “postmarked by Election Day and … arrive at an elections office up to four days later to be counted,” according to a local news outlet.

The proposed bill would also place limits on ballot harvesting, the practice whereby third parties collect mail-in ballots from voters. SB 405 stipulates that “it is unlawful for any person to return a mail ballot other than the voter or, at the request of the voter, a person authorized by the voter.” An individual authorized to return a voter’s ballot would be required to sign a form under penalty of perjury confirming he has permission to do so and submit a report to the secretary of state that includes a list of “each voter on whose behalf the person returned a mail ballot.” Said individuals would furthermore be prohibited from returning more than 30 ballots per election.

The introduction of SB 405 came the same week the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) released a report detailing the catastrophic failure of Nevada’s automatic vote-by-mail system in the 2022 midterms. According to data from the Nevada secretary of state’s office, 95,556 ballots were sent to undeliverable addresses, 8,036 were rejected by election officials, and 1.2 million ballots were never returned to be counted.

For perspective, Democrat incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican candidate Adam Laxalt by 7,928 votes — fewer than the 8,036 ballots rejected upon receipt by election officials.

While significant, Lombardo’s efforts to enhance the integrity of Nevada’s elections are likely to face resistance from Nevada Democrats, who control both chambers of the state legislature. Following SB 405’s introduction, Democrat Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno resorted to accusing Lombardo of “rolling back voting rights” and “emboldening election deniers.”


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