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Campaign 2018: Nevada voter registration numbers at all-time high

Nevada set a record for the number of active registered voters in September, the secretary of state’s office announced this week.

The total number of active registered voters hit 1,519,038 last month, the secretary of state’s office said, beating the previous record of 1,507,882 set in February 2017.

In the latest numbers, Democrats continued to stretch their voter registration lead over Republicans thanks to a 8,547 increase for Democrats compared with as 6,908 increase in GOP voters. With a handful of weeks left to register for the midterm elections, the Democrats hold a registration lead of just under 70,000.

But nonpartisans saw the biggest total increase, jumping by 8,655, bringing that bloc up to 21.6 percent of the state’s total electorate.

Also, active-duty military, their families and overseas voters can start casting ballots through Nevada’s Effective Absentee System for Elections, an online system that contains the documents needed for voting. The system was developed four years ago using a grant from the Federal Voting Assistance Program. Qualified voters can use EASE to register to vote up to seven days before the election.

Laxalt takes heat

Democrats are calling on Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt to release his bar association application and full criminal record after the Republican gubernatorial nominee acknowledged he was a “reckless and foolish” teen when he was arrested for assaulting a police officer in Virginia.

Records obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal from the city of Alexandria, where Laxalt was raised, show Laxalt was taken into custody for underage drinking in 1996.

A 17-year-old Laxalt was drinking at a woman’s house when officers were called, according to the report. After police entered the residence, Laxalt said he “reacted the wrong way” and tried to keep police from coming into the home. “Today, as a law enforcement officer, I understand they were just doing their jobs,” he told the newspaper.

That and other alcohol-related incidents prompted him to get sober, he said.

Laxalt is facing Democrat Steve Sisolak in one of the nation’s most closely watched gubernatorial races.

Nevada Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II demanded that Laxalt release his full bar application and full criminal record because of the newspaper report.

“These revelations about Adam Laxalt’s criminal history are incredibly concerning, and even more concerning is the fact that Laxalt has failed to come clean about his record until just now,” McCurdy said.

The complaint game

A week after Democrats alleged in an ethics complaint that Laxalt’s official office has given his campaign favorable treatment when it comes to public records request, the Nevada Republican Party has filed their own, alleging that a request they filed with Sisolak’s County Commission office last July still hasn’t been fulfilled.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said the issue with the request falls on him and his office, and added that he was “very surprised” and “disappointed” that the state GOP didn’t follow up on the request from more than a year ago.

“My office and I are responsible for processing public records requests. Such requests should come directly to my office for processing. We take such requests very seriously and strive to be diligent in responding in a timely and complete manner,” Pappa said. “This is the first we have heard of this request and I am checking our records for it. I am very surprised by it and disappointed in their failure to follow-up on a request that is now more than 14 months old involving a matter that is outside County jurisdiction since the business in question is located in the city of Las Vegas.”

In other complaint news, the state Democratic Party on Tuesday filed an election integrity violation report with the Nevada secretary of state’s office against … Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

The group argues that Cegavske’s latest ad does not include certain aspects required by state law, such as the candidate saying that they approved of it or physical or internet address for the campaign.

Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state over elections, said that Cegavske’s ad at first glance doesn’t appear to violate the statute because he said the law mainly deals with third-party groups and PACs that are supporting candidates, rather than ads that come directly from the candidate’s campaign.

But Thorley said the office will look into it.

“We’ll do our due diligence on this and look at case law and legislative history,” Thorley said.

Cegavske is running for re-election and is being challenged by Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo.

News and notes

■With a little more than a month until Election Day, the Nevada Republican Party lost its top leader, executive director Greg Bailor. Bailor confirmed his departure from the GOP in an email Tuesday but declined to answer questions about why he left his position.

■Laxalt was endorsed by the Association of Builders and Contractors in Nevada.

■The Republican Attorneys General Association released a TV commercial attacking Democratic nominee Sen. Aaron Ford. The ad features Ford’s testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee session where he says he “can’t speak to what larceny means” because he isn’t a criminal lawyer. Meanwhile. Ford released an ad that shows Dave Kallas, a retired Metro police officer, defending Ford and saying law enforcement from across the state back him. The ad began airing in Reno on Wednesday.

—The Congressional Leadership Fund released its second attack ad targeting Democrat Susie Lee, who is running for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. The 30-second ad ties Lee to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and says they’re both “liberal and out of touch.” Lee also released her second TV ad, saying that Washington is broken by partisan gridlock and Lee will shake things up.

—The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State released radio ads supporting Araujo.

—Republican Jimmy Vega, who is running for North Las Vegas Constable, is hosting a bipartisan fundraiser at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 that features GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, County Commissioner Susan Brager, Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore, Assemblyman Chris Edwards and more. The fundraiser will be at Viva Zapatas, 3826 E. Craig Road in North Las Vegas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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