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Nevada governor won’t make ‘ballot harvesters’ register

By ThisIsReno

By SAM METZ AP/Report for America

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak ratcheted up tensions in Nevada’s increasingly partisan battle over election management on Tuesday when he rejected a request from its Republican secretary of state to require so-called “ballot harvesters” to register with her office.

In early August, Nevada’s Democratic-controlled Legislature voted to mail ballots to all active voters ahead of the November election to provide additional opportunities to voters concerned about coronavirus exposure at the polls. The body also approved emergency regulations to lift limits on a practice known as “ballot harvesting,” which permits third-parties to collect and return ballots on voters’ behalf.

Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske said in a letter sent Aug. 17 that additional safeguards were needed to secure the election. She proposed and drafted an emergency regulation to require third-party “ballot harvesters” who collect more than 10 ballots to submit paperwork detailing information including their political affiliations.

After blasting Sisolak and the Legislature for marginalizing her in discussions over pandemic election measures and not consulting her about the bill, Cegavske acknowledged it was her job to enforce laws rather than make them. She said election officials would be able to investigate “any illegal activity” associated with ballot harvesting with the information required by her proposed regulation.

Sisolak fired back Tuesday in a letter to Cegavske saying there is no indication that the ballot collection rules would create an emergency that warranted “the adoption of an emergency regulation without public feedback.”

Mandating registration for third-party ballot collectors wouldn’t prevent the kind of fraud Cegavske and Republicans worry about, Sisolak said in his response, which was first reported by the Nevada Independent. He said Cegavske’s use of the term “ballot harvester” was overtly partisan and said her warning “echoes the voter suppression rhetoric being heard on the national stage.”

Cegavske said in a statement Tuesday in response to Sisolak that the governor had used his emergency powers for less dire situations, including by calling a special session to address criminal justice and mining taxes. She said she was disappointed the governor had decided not to adopt her proposed regulation, but remained committed to ensuring a fair election.

National Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have rebuked the state’s decision to allow ballot harvesters.

Earlier this month, Trump’s reelection campaign filed a lawsuit claiming the law compromised the integrity of the election.


Sam Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.



David Judy August 28, 2020 - 7:53 am

Wake up fellow Nevadans, enough is enough. Governor Sisolak continues to cheat his way to the most unfair election in history. The Governor’s refusal to enact an emergency regulation that would not PROHIBIT ballot harvesting, rather it would require individuals or their affiliated organizations to register with the Secretary of State’s office. ( Our Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is a Republican) This refusal to act upon a reasonable request shows continued devious manipulation of the coming 2020 election.

Sisolak responded to Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s request stating that the adoption of an emergency regulation regarding ballot collection methods was not warranted without “public feedback”. Seriously? The recent special legislative sessions ruled on four huge issues; the first being the adopted mail-in balloting for the coming election, mining industry taxation, the declaration that racism constitutes a public health crisis, and removing the legal rights of police officers with NO “public feedback”.

Our Governor seems to want to emulate his California cronies where oddly enough ballot harvesting is perfectly legal. Since 2016 California law states that harvesters can collect an unlimited amount of ballots. Ballot harvesting is illegal in 10 states and some states such as Minnesota allow only a limited number of ballots to be collected ( 3 in this case). Sisolak “s statement that the term “ballot harvester” is partisan or divisive is inaccurate at best. Any investigation ,on any search engine will provide a specific nonpartisan definition of the term, a great example is seen on Wikipedia. I would think that if the Governor is aware that some of his constituents (Republicans) are concerned about this year’s voting protocol, in all fairness he would be happy to assuage some of their concerns by allowing the Secretary of State’s office to register ballot harvesters who collect more than 10 ballots. It is simply a way to assure that all is done in a fair and legal manner, NOT denying the people a chance to have someone else collect and deliver their ballot to election officials.

Issues surrounding the 2020 election are creating controversies and worries for voters nationwide. I worry that many will simply not vote at all because submitting their ballot would be fruitless, or just part of a rigged, corrupt scheme. Ballot harvesting is neither right nor wrong , however the loss of control by an individual voter once a ballot leaves their hands should be of grave concern. Governor Sisolak should have a great deal more faith in his own agenda. If he truly believes in the direction he is taking Nevada he won’t need to cheat to assure further success. Just remember Governor, “cheaters never win, and winners never cheat”. See you in 2022 !

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