A U.S. mail-in ballot accompanied by a blue face mask. Photo provided by Tiffany Tertipes on Unsplash on July 18, 2020.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

On Sunday, members of the Nevada Senate voted along party lines to approve a bill expanding mail-in voting during times of emergency. In addition to requiring mail-in ballots to all registered voters, the bill also requires a minimum number of polling places for both early and Election Day voting in Clark and Washoe county. The bill now heads to Gov. Steve Siloak, a Democrat. If he signs it, as is expected, Nevada will join seven states that plan on automatically sending voters mail ballots.

GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel alleged on Sunday that “Dems want to use the pandemic to destroy election integrity.” In a tweet Monday morning, President Donald Trump referred to the bill’s approval as an “illegal late night coup” that made it “impossible for Republicans to win the state” and implying that he would be taking legal action. Nevada Republican legislators in particular raised issue with a portion of the bill that permits the elderly and those with physical disabilities to request someone else fill out and hand in their ballot. Las Vegas Republican Scott Hammond called the bill nothing less than “an assault on the Constitution.” Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske told lawmakers Friday that she wasn’t aware of any fraud in the June primary, when Nevada mailed all active voters absentee ballots and only opened a limited number of polling places to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, she also opposed the revised procedures, stating that Democrats excluded her from discussions and that she only saw a draft of the bill a day before the vote in the state Assembly.

Democrats argue that allowing people other than family members to return ballots would help groups such as members of Nevada’s 32 Native American tribes, as well as seniors that may need assistance and fear going in-person to the polls. Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro criticized McDaniel, tweeting, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a partisan hack like you use this pandemic to suppress Nevadans’ right to vote. Nevada will have a free, fair and secure election this November.” Nevada Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy stated that Democrats will not be “intimidated” and said the measure was necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The recent attack on mail-in voting measures comes as President Trump floats a possible delay of the 2020 election. In addition, Mark Dimondsteen, president of the American Post Workers Union, warned that newly implemented US Postal Service procedures could affect mail-in voting in November.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Trump vows legal action over Nevada mail-in voting plan – Fox News – 8/3/2020
The legislature on Sunday pushed through the bill despite objections from Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, the only statewide Republican elected official, on a party-line vote. It would give Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak the power to command the secretary of state to adjust election procedures during a state of emergency. The bill also expands who can turn in ballots, a provision many Republicans in the state said could open the door for ballot harvesting.

Trump falsely accuses Nevada of using COVID-19 to “steal” election by mailing ballots to voters – Salon – 8/3/2020
Trump has repeatedly falsely claimed that mail-in voting is rife with fraud, even though multiple analyses have found that the risk of potential fraud is somewhere between 0.00006% and 0.0025%. […] Trump doubled-down on his false claims Monday after Nevada lawmakers voted to send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter over concerns about the coronavirus, which has resulted in massive worker shortages, shuttered poll sites and hours-long lines in states where in-person voting has already taken place amid the ongoing pandemic.

Trump: Nevada Dems are ‘using COVID to steal the state’ – The Washington Times – 8/3/2020
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who ordered a largely mail-in June primary election, opposed the measure that passed Sunday. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who ordered a largely mail-in June primary election, opposed the measure that passed Sunday.

Trump Threatens Nevada Mail-In Voting Even As His Campaign Encourages It – HillReporter – 8/3/2020
The Nevada legislature has passed a bill that would expand mail-in voting in the state for the November general election, but Donald Trump has vowed to challenge it. This announcement comes just one day after his own campaign sent out an email encouraging voters to get their mail-in ballots as soon as possible.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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