Home > Opinion > The attack on voting is an insult to Nevadans and democracy (opinion)

The attack on voting is an insult to Nevadans and democracy (opinion)

By ThisIsReno
A Washoe County ballot drop box for the June 2020 primary election.

Submitted by Sarah Mahler, Washoe County Democratic Party Chair

The Trump campaign is suing Nevada in response to Governor Sisolak and Nevada Democrats passing legislation to ensure a safe and secure election in Nevada during this once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic. As part of their strategy, Republicans are flinging outlandish lies and betraying all Nevadans, enlisting a pack of political operatives and liars to denigrate our state’s history, infrastructure, and bipartisan leadership along the way.

As the chair of the Democratic Party of Washoe County and a long time voting citizen, I believe this should not be a partisan issue. I want all Nevadans to vote in a safe and secure election. Everyone’s vote matters.

But only one major political party, the Democratic Party, believes in this foundational requirement of democracy. The GOP is transforming into the party of Trump through their own divisive and antidemocratic actions. The Nevada Dems are defenders of free and fair elections.

A county worker counts ballots in the June 2020 primary election. Image: Trevor Bexon
A county worker counts ballots in the June 2020 primary election. Image: Trevor Bexon

Our county political organizations are prepared to separate reality from the lies, starting with the South Washoe Dems meeting on Monday, Aug. 31, featuring Deputy Secretary of State Wayne Torney and Washoe County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula. Sign up here. Nevada and Washoe County election officials will answer all legitimate questions and concerns about how, when and where Washoe County residents can vote safely and securely.

Local news has already provided us with important details from Wayne Thorney here.

The assault on voting in Nevada is coming from people who should know better. Former and current elected officials are claiming voting by mail would enable people to vote twice; a baseless claim refuted by Nevada’s top election official, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

We all understand the stakes of this election, but if we do not have the ability to vote, we have already lost. If the Republicans embrace disenfranchisement as a political strategy, they only prove they are unfit to govern at any level—city council, judiciary or legislative, let alone the presidency. A party that is afraid of the electorate is unworthy of representing them.

Limiting voting access is a disgrace. We must be vigilant and uncompromising—Nevadans must be given every tool available to ensure they can vote safely in this election. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. That which can be destroyed by the truth, should. There is no truth to the claims of voter fraud in Nevada.

Sarah Mahler is the chair of the Democratic Party of Washoe County and is a Spanish Springs resident. 

Submitted opinions do not represent the views of This Is Reno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.



Gale Marie Audia August 30, 2020 - 9:56 pm

Thanks, Sarah for keeping us informed and giving us the tools to defend Nevada’s voting process. Great job!

Nancy Hoffman August 29, 2020 - 10:25 pm

Thank you Sarah for your well written & concise statement. It will not be a surprise when Trump’s lawsuit against Nevada is thrown out for having no basis.

David Judy August 29, 2020 - 8:48 pm

I would like to comment on Ms. Mahler’s heartfelt concerns and I admire her devotion to her political party. However, important issues are not made with the heart, but rather, with discourse, discussion and reasonable compromise between parties. Republicans and Democrats alike treasure our right to choose our elected officials in fair elections. Unfortunately Ms. Mahler you are letting emotion rather than fact guide your opinion piece.

In your first paragraph, you admit to “Governor Sisolak and Nevada Democrats passing legislation to ensure a safe and secure election “”.Do you not see the flawed thinking here? The Governor and the Democratic legislature passed AB4 in the wee hours of the night without public input, or any attempt at compromise with Republican lawmakers. I would think then, that the elected officials from your party are to blame for throwing down the gauntlet thus creating the election process controversy.

You state that “this” ( I assume you mean the contested AB4 bill) should not be a “partisan issue”. This is very naive wish. Everything about a hotly contested election and the complete change in our voting protocol without discussion is definitely going to create partisan divide. Your link to the television interview with Wayne Thorley is quickly cut off after the reporter asks Mr. Thorley what the real incidence of voter fraud is in Nevada. Your fellow Democrats will remain blissfully ignorant of this data. In light of today’s incredibly close election margins, even a few percent of votes cast out due to voter fraud could make a huge difference in candidate outcomes.

I would love to know who comprises the” pack of political operatives and liars denigrating our state’s history”. Extremely liberal elected members of the Democratic party in the House of Representativese specifically have blatantly displayed their desire to deny and undermine the validity and value of our nation’s history . More importantly the office of our duly elected President has been assailed and smeared daily for the last 4 years.

I can assure you Ms. Mahler that the Washoe County Republican Party in no way wants to disenfranchise voters in this county. The numbers of those registered as Democrats and Republicans in Otis county is so very close. The strategy for Republicans here is to get everyone to vote, especially those declared as Independent. We want to be able to become a Super Minority in both houses to prevent the dictatorial moves Governor Sisolak continues to make under the guise of “Special Sessions” and manipulating public opinion ” for our safety” He refuses to allow the Nevada Secretary of State’s office to register ballot harvesters that collect more than 10 ballots.The secretary’s requests in no way asked to inhibits mail-in voting.

The Republican Party in Washoe county does not and will never inhibit any citizen from exercising their God given right to vote. I assure you we want as many people to vote as possible so that we can shift Nevada from self righteous blues to a fair and ethical platform allowing Nevadans to live life as Nevadans, not Californians.

Ed Andrews August 29, 2020 - 7:49 pm

Sarah is completely right, but too polite. What Republicans are doing to suppress the vote is cynical, dishonest and fundamentally Un-American. To trample on voting in every way possible, including by launching utterly unsubstantiated charges about mail-in ballots, should turn the stomach of any decent citizen. Republicans can blather on as much as they like, but we all know the score. The only way Trump can win re-election is by discouraging as many voters not in his limited base from casting ballots. It’s nauseating.

Colleen Bye August 29, 2020 - 1:52 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful article. I too believe voting should not be a partisan issue and would like all citizens to have access to voting. I lived in Utah the past 8 years, and we had NO PROBLEMS with mail in voting!

Susan Thompson August 29, 2020 - 10:05 am

Thank you, Sarah. I agree 100%. Mail in voting is supported equally by both parties and is permitted in some form in 46 states. Data shows it does not benefit one party over the other. So why is this being politicized? It’s because the President and his enablers want to sow seeds of division and doubt. If he loses it is fraud. If he wins it’s because his greatness overcame it all “like nobody has ever seen in the history of the world.”

NPR wrote a good piece on June 4 titled: “Why Is Voting By Mail (Suddenly) Controversial? Here’s What You Need To Know”. It’s easily found through a quick google search. I highly recommend folks read it to get the facts and then VOTE.

Laura J Hale August 28, 2020 - 6:42 pm

Thanks to Sarah Mahler for this strong, clear statement on voting rights and secure access.

Steven Weidman August 28, 2020 - 2:46 pm

Thank you Sarah. For the last thirty years the Republican Party has swung so far to the right that they don’t really understand what democracy is. History teaches where that leads.

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