15 Apr Release: In response to the Nevada Secretary of State’s statement on the upcoming primary elections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2020
Contact: Will Pregman, email@example.com, 702.752.0656
In response to the Nevada Secretary of State’s statement on the upcoming primary elections
LAS VEGAS, NV – This week, the Secretary of State, Barbara Cegavske, issued a statement in response to a lawsuit brought by the State Democratic Party. In her statement, the Secretary doubled down on not expanding in-person voting options for the upcoming 2020 primary elections.
Emily Persaud-Zamora, Executive Director of Silver State Voices, said:
“At SSV, we manage the nonpartisan voter registration efforts undertaken by over a dozen nonprofit organizations which make up our table and work closely with election officials to ensure a fair, transparent, and accessible process for every election. As such, we examine changes to those systems and weigh their potential effects very seriously. We appreciate Secretary Cegavske’s concern for protecting public health for Nevada voters during this unprecedented crisis and commend the expansion of vote by mail ballots. However, we have reservations about a hasty transition to an all-vote-by-mail system that could effectively disenfranchise many groups of voters, particularly voters of color whom we work with everyday. Distrust for the integrity of vote-by-mail is common among communities of color, and justifiably so. A 2018 study in Florida found that over two presidential cycles, twice as many mail votes from African-American and Latino voters were rejected due to signature mismatches or technical problems compared to those of white voters.
The Secretary’s proposal also suggests not sending a mail ballot to all eligible voters. People of color are often overrepresented on inactive voter lists and will likely be forced to vote in-person at the only vote center in their county. With so much traffic directed into just to one center, the state risks exacerbating public health concerns rather than managing them. We need creative solutions such as expanding the number of sites to reduce lines and allow for social distancing and expanded curbside voting options for those who wish to remain in their vehicles. No one should ever have to choose between their right to vote and their health and safety. Furthermore, strong accommodations are needed for voters with disabilities, who speak a different language, or whose address may have changed recently due to the radically different economic circumstances we’re experiencing. We simply cannot let votes go uncounted, especially those most vulnerable to disenfranchisement. I ask Secretary Cegavske to revisit her plan with these considerations in mind and give voters a safe and accessible way to vote in-person.”
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