Updated August 28, 2020 - 3:50 pm
Gov. Steve Sisolak and other state Democrats condemned what they called efforts by the Republican Party to suppress the vote in Nevada as part of the Friday launch of a new website section and push for voters to make early plans to vote by mail, drop off or in person.
“The best way to combat Republican attacks on our voting law is to use your voice and make sure your friends, your family, your neighbors, your coworkers and everyone you know does the same,” Sisolak said.
Participating in the upcoming election couldn’t be more critical to the future of the state, Sisolak said, before lambasting President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as it pertains to Nevada.
Sisolak said the administration has failed to provide the state with adequate testing, protective equipment and financial help. He criticized the Republican National Convention, where he said Republicans “almost entirely ignored the fact the country was experiencing a global crisis.”
“The reality is Nevadans are still suffering,” he said. “More than 1,000 families have lost a loved one. Tens of thousands have experienced it firsthand, and nearly one-third of Nevadans are out of work.”
Sisolak said voters must elect Democratic nominee Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris “if we want to get our state and our country back on track.”
New election law
Democrats cited the pandemic as the primary reason for passing Assembly Bill 4 during a special session of the Nevada Legislature this month. The bill amended election law to require all active voters receive a mail ballot and increase the number of polling places on Election Day, among other changes.
The law was met with immediate public condemnation by Trump and top Republicans, culminating in a lawsuit filed against the state.
“Democrats changed the rules less than 100 days out from November’s election for one reason and one reason only: President Trump and Republicans have the momentum as Nevadans learn the dangers of Joe Biden’s radical left agenda,” Nevada Republican Party Executive Director Jessica Hanson said in a statement Friday.
Sisolak stressed Friday that voting in person will be safe in November, but he encouraged voters — particularly those with COVID-19 risk factors or symptoms — to plan to vote early and avoid long lines.
The push for voting early was not, he said, due to any concern over the ability of state and local election officials to accurately count an influx of mail ballots or whether the U.S. Postal Service can handle the ballot load — both common claims made by Republicans.
Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson said he was confident Nevada would win the legal fight over AB4 because “we’re on the right side of this issue.”
“When so many are desperate for leadership, not only here but from the White House, Republicans are going to continue to mischaracterize this bill and mislead folks about voter fraud,” Frierson said. “They’ll do everything in their power simply to keep more Nevadans from voting.”
Frierson said AB4 makes it easier for Nevadans to vote safely during the pandemic.
Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II, also an assemblyman, took it a step further, saying it was directly because of Trump’s failed leadership on the coronavirus that Republicans are now “working so hard to push their voter suppression agenda.”
“They know — and Trump has said it himself — Republicans will lose if more Nevadans are able to vote,” McCurdy said.
The state party’s new website section includes resources for those wishing to register, vote in person or vote by mail, as well as public service announcement-style testimonials from local Democratic leaders.
Voters are expected to receive mail ballots in early October. The early voting period runs from Oct. 17-30, and any ballots postmarked on Election Day, Nov. 3, will be counted up until Nov. 10. Clark County will have 35 early voting centers during early voting, and 125 in-person voting locations on Election Day, according to the county.