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NEVADA VIEWS: Strengthening democracy

With the primary election behind us and the general election fewer than five months away, we stand at a critical juncture in the history of our republic. The cornerstone of our nation’s strength lies in the integrity of our electoral process. Yet, recent years have seen a troubling erosion of trust in our elections. It’s vital that every Nevadan recognize the importance of upholding confidence in the 2024 election.

In a democracy, the legitimacy of our government derives from the consent of the governed. When citizens lose faith in the electoral system, the very foundation of our republic is compromised. Trust in the electoral process is not merely a matter of convenience or partisan advantage — it is fundamental to the functioning of our democratic institutions. Without it, the fabric of our society frays, and the bonds of citizenship weaken.

Nevadans must reject the corrosive rhetoric that seeks to undermine our democratic institutions. We must stand united in defense of the integrity of our elections, regardless of party affiliation. That’s why we are proud to stand with RightCount, a Republican-led entity that is committed to restoring trust in our elections. With RightCount’s help, we will dig into the questions and concerns Nevadans have and shine a light on the vote-counting process. The strength of our democracy lies in our ability to come together as a community and uphold the principles that bind us as Americans.

Nevada has a rich history of civic engagement and participation. From the silver mines of the Comstock Lode to the bustling streets of Las Vegas, our state has been shaped by the contributions of generations of hardworking and patriotic Nevadans. At the heart of our shared heritage is a commitment to democracy and the rule of law. This year’s upcoming elections present us with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to free and fair elections. Nevadans will likely determine not only who will win the White House, but also which party will control the U.S. Senate next year — the eyes of the country will be upon us in November. At the state level we will decide whether or not Gov. Joe Lombardo’s veto can be sustained by electing more Republicans to the Legislature.

And while our state as a whole has an interest in serving as a model for the nation, so too does our Republican Party. Complaining about the rules every time we come up short is not a recipe for advancing a conservative agenda. Nevada’s former secretary of state, a fellow Republican, said there was no “evidentiary support” that widespread voter fraud occurred in the state’s 2020 election. Additionally, two prominent Nevada GOP lawmakers, state Sen. Jeff Stone and Assemblyman Ken Gray, recently reversed themselves and now say that there was no evidence that massive voter fraud occurred in the 2020 election.

Of course, all eligible voters should have the confidence that their voice will be heard and their vote will be counted. This requires not only robust safeguards to protect against fraud but also transparency and accountability at every stage of the electoral process. Any indication of irregularities must continue to be thoroughly investigated and resolved to ensure the integrity of our elections.

It is incumbent upon our elected officials, from the governor’s mansion to the Legislature, to demonstrate leadership in promoting trust and confidence in our electoral system.

This means investing in voter education, ensuring access to the ballot box for all eligible citizens and rigorously enforcing laws against election interference and fraud.

But the responsibility does not rest solely with our elected leaders. Each and every one of us has a role to play in safeguarding the integrity of our elections. Whether by volunteering as poll workers, engaging in civil discourse or simply casting our ballots with conviction, we can all contribute to the strength of our democracy.

In the end, the vitality of our democracy depends on the faith and trust of the people. Let us seize this moment to reaffirm our commitment to the principles of self-government and civic participation. Together, let us ensure that the 2024 elections are a testament to the enduring strength of our democracy and the resilience of the American spirit.

Robert List, a Republican, served as Nevada governor and attorney general. Heidi Seevers Gansert, Republican from Reno, is minority leader of the state Senate.

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