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Panel to discuss restoring voting rights in Nevada

By Jeri Chadwell

On April 15, Nevada Humanities will host a virtual panel discussion called “Why It Matters: Restoring Voting Rights in Nevada” on Zoom between 4 and 5 p.m.

Todd Felts, University of Nevada, Reno
Todd Felts, University of Nevada, Reno

The panel will be moderated by Todd Felts, an associate professor of public relations at the University of Nevada, Reno, and will bring together an author, a historian, a former lawmaker and a voting rights advocate to discuss the history of disenfranchisement laws that have stripped the formerly incarcerated of their voting rights and efforts today to overturn them.

Unlike some other states, felons in Nevada do not lose their right to vote. On July 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 431 of the 2019 Legislative Session took effect. Under the law, any Nevada resident who is convicted of a felony is immediately restored the right to vote upon the individual’s release from prison. There is no waiting period or action required by the individual.

However, state lawmakers are still poised for another voting rights battle—this one over a voting reform bill that would ensure universal mail-in ballots for all Nevada voters.

The panelists for the event will include author and motivational speaker Jagada Chambers, UNR history professor Greta de Jong, former Nevada Assembly member and one-time gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani, and Justice Director of the Mass Liberation Project and the Vegas Freedom Fund with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Leslie Ann Turner.

Executive Director of Nevada Humanities Christina Barr said the panel discussion is one of a series that has run throughout the course of the last year to raise awareness about voting rights and the importance of civic participation. She said the series has focused on shining a “light on the inequities in our system” and policies and other factors that prevent Nevadans from voting.

“A robust and healthy democracy is only possible if all citizens have fair access to participate in the election process, and hearing stories about the restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated citizens may remind us that there continues to be work to do in this regard,” Barr said.

The upcoming panel is funded by the “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils of which Nevada Humanities is a member. It’s funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Registration is required. Visit nevadahumanities.org.

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