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Problems at the polls? Help is a phone call away (opinion)

By ThisIsReno
ballot drop off sign for voting

By Wesley Juhl

Many Nevadans have already cast a ballot in this year’s election, and many, many more will have done so by the time the polls close Tuesday night. And Nevadans have more voting options this year than ever before.

With such unprecedented turnout, it’s only natural that there may be a few hiccups here and there. But Nevadans have a right to vote, and the Let Nevadans Vote coalition and is working overtime to ensure problems at the polls are smoothed over as quickly as possible.

Coalition organizations – the ACLU of Nevada, Silver State Voices, and the Institute for a Progressive Nevada – have been deploying nonpartisan poll monitors to voting sites throughout Nevada’s metropolitan areas and monitoring the Election Protection hotlines to guard against voter intimidation and problems at the polls.

Most problems can be fixed with a phone call or two from Nevada’s Election Protection command centers, but here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re casting a ballot later this week or on Election Day.

Make a plan and remember you have options.

If you intend to return your ballot through the mail, plan to send it in as soon as possible or find the official drop-off box closest to you. Voting by mail is a safe and secure method ofr making your voice heard during the pandemic, but the Legislature made sure Nevadans have plenty of in-person options as well. Early voting lasts through Friday, and in-person voting will resume on Election Day.

You don’t need to show ID to vote, but you do need ID to complete registration.

Same-day voter registration gives eligible Nevadans who missed the regular registration deadlines a chance to participate in our democracy on Election Day and during early voting. You need a Nevada ID to use Same-Day Registration.

There may still be time for newer Nevadans to get to the DMV. The Let Nevadans Vote coalition has helped a few people vote using interim DMV documents, so use the Election Protection hotline or find a nonpartisan volunteer (look for the black T-shirts) if you need help.

Report possible voter intimidation or suppression.

No one should be harassed or made to feel scared when they go to vote. Use the Election Protection hotline to alert the Let Nevadans Vote coalition if you see issues at polling sites such as groups blocking access, partisan campaign activities, or law enforcement officers lingering at a site. A police presence could be intimidating for many Nevadans, including people of color and formerly incarcerated individuals, so law enforcement should only be at polling places if they are called and should be in and out quickly.

Keep these hotline numbers handy:

— 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

— 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (Spanish).

— 1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance).

— 1-844-YALLA-US (Arabic).

Know Your Rights.

Nevada’s voting policies have been updated in recent years, including the addition of automatic and same-day voter registration and restored voting rights for tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated Nevadans. The ACLU of Nevada website has Know Your Rights information for voting on its website in English and Spanish if you need a refresher.

You have to know your rights to know if they have been violated. But when in doubt, call the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

Wesley Juhl is the Director of Communications and Outreach for the ACLU of Nevada. 

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


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