Proposed election law changes questioned

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers heard criticism Tuesday of a proposal from the secretary of state’s office that would increase penalties for offenses such as intimidating voters and interfering in the conduct of an election.

Critics told Senate Legislative Operations and Election Committee members that the election law changes proposed in Assembly Bill 82 are potentially unconstitutional and amount to government micromanagement of elections.

Secretary of State Ross Miller said the bill was drafted to streamline the election process, in part by creating a database giving people the option of registering to vote online.

Miller also said the bill would combat election fraud.

American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada representative Lee Rowland opposed AB82. She offered amendments deleting part of the bill that would turn election law violations into felonies.

Lee also said a provision requiring anyone who makes independent expenditures on behalf of political candidates to first register with the secretary of state amounts to unconstitutional “prior restraint on speech.”

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