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Nevada Democrats launch voter education, protection efforts


On Friday, The Nevada Democratic Party and leading Nevada Democratic figures held a press call to announce a new voter education effort ahead of November’s general election. Early voting, voter protection and the details of the education campaign were discussed.

The call was held the day after Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention acceptance speech held on the south lawn of the White House to conclude the 2020 event, which took place from Aug. 24-27. Early in the 70-minute speech he impressed upon those watching that, “This is the most important election in the history of our country…At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas.” 

The featured speakers on Friday’s call expressed a viewpoint similar to Trump’s, albeit selecting the opposite choice to the one which Trump referred. Those speakers included Nevada Democratic party chairman William McCurdy II, Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D-Las Vegas), Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) and Nevada State Senate candidate Wendy Jauregui-Jackins (D), candidate for Reno’s Senate District 15.

The launch of the voter education and information website was announced during the call, as was the planned launch of a voter protection hotline in September.

Nevada Assemblyman William McCurdy II inside the Assembly chambers on the first day of the 31st Special Session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev., on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Pool photo by David Calvert/The Nevada Independent
Nevada Assemblyman William McCurdy II inside the Assembly chambers on the first day of the 31st Special Session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev. Pool photo by David Calvert/The Nevada Independent

Chairman McCurdy said, “NV Dems has proven over the last two election cycles we know how to win. We are ensuring every voter knows how to participate in this election…Our message in 2020 is simple: Sign it. Mail it. Drop it. Vote it. Thank you so very much!”

Chairman McCurdy also spoke about the voter information website, NevadaVotesEarly.com, and gave answers to questions voters may have about the voting process.

“This is to provide Nevadans with every resource they need and answers to frequently asked questions about the upcoming election,” he said.

It’s also hoped these efforts will boost voter turnout as early voting and the November election draw near.

Speakers on the call also discussed the gains made for Nevada in the passage of Assembly Bill 4 during the 32nd Special Session of the Nevada Legislature. The goal of passing this legislation was to minimize the spread of the virus by mailing all Nevada registered voters a mail-in ballot to minimize in-person voting. The bill also required counties to provide a certain number of in-person polling places, based upon their populations. 

Mail-in voting in Nevada has been an issue of much controversy, garnering even the ire and tweets of Republican President Donald Trump, who claimed the law and the process were “illegal,” “aiding voter fraud” and “passed illegally through the dead of night.”  It also resulted in lawsuits from the Trump Campaign and Nevada Republican Party and a downtown Reno protest. Trump has leveled insults and attacks on Gov. Sisolak, Nevada legislators and Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske for this legislation.

“It’s legislation I’m incredibly proud to have shepherded through legislative process,” Frierson said of AB4. “I’ve long prioritized expanding access to the ballot, and nothing changed just because we’re in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Republicans, of course, are using this pandemic to further their own goal of preventing Americans from making their voices heard,” he continued. “We witnessed these attempts first hand even in Nevada. First, President Trump lied about the way this legislation was passed…saying it passed ‘illegally’ through the dead of night. The fact of the matter is this bill passed at before noon on a Saturday. We had hours of public comment from all Nevadans. And, of course, then the president doubled down and sued Nevada.”

Frierson said it’s a fight he’s confident Nevada will win, adding that it’s also not new. Mail-in voting is something other states have done.

Speaker Frierson said he is confident legal challenges against AB4 and mail-in voting in Nevada will fail.  He also spoke to concerns that AB4’s passage was an attempt to aid voter harvesting. He took great pains to the show that this was a voter assistance measure and not voter harvesting.

Protesters gathered in downtown Reno Aug. 4, 2020 to rally against AB4 and mail-in voting. Image: Trevor Bexon

“We call it voter assistance and, of course, Republicans want to call it ‘ballot harvesting,’” he said. “The truth is this type of assistance has been implemented in a majority of states. Over 26 states have some version of what we passed, and 13 states allow it. This prioritizes vulnerable Nevadans to give them the assistance they need to know that their ballot is actually returned.”

The last to speak was Wendy Jauregui-Jackins, a Washoe County Assessor’s Office employee who is also a candidate for Nevada State Senate District 15 challenging one-term incumbent Nevada Senator and former Assembly Member Heidi Gansert (R-Reno). Jauregui-Jackins emphasized that a vote for her would mark an important chance for Nevada Democrats to gain a supermajority in the upper house, ending GOP obstruction. She urged voters to “vote blue up and down that ballot.”

During the question-and-answer section, when asked by This Is Reno about their get-out-the-vote plans for Washoe County, Chairman McCurdy and candidate Jauregui-Jackins mentioned their plan of attack to drive themselves to victory takes into consideration the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. They said they would be heavily using phone banks, the new website and continuing to urge early voting for all voters.

“I think this election cycle is definitely different than anything we’ve seen in the past due to the pandemic,” Jauregui-Jackins said. “It’s made to get out door-to-door for mobilizing our efforts…So we’re just definitely just growing our volunteer basis day-by-day, and a LOT of phone calls via text banking.”

Chairman McCurdy added, “The Nevada State Democratic Party has been consistently the gold standard, if you will, for mobilizing our voters, and this election cycle is going to be no different. We’re going to exercise every option available to ensure that every Nevada Democrat has the information that they need…We will have all the information that they need to turn out, and turn out early this upcoming election cycle.”

Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.




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