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Q5 would make voter registration easier

There is nothing more American than voting. It’s the fundamental right I signed up to defend when I joined the United States Army. But to ensure every eligible citizen has the opportunity to exercise that right, we need to make our voting system more secure and accessible.

That’s why Nevada should join more than a dozen states with automatic voter registration and make our election system more secure, convenient and efficient than the antiquated paper registration system we have now.

You’ve seen them all over the state: people with clipboards and stacks of paper voter registration forms. Ballot Question 5 would replace the system we have now, which requires government employees to copy registration forms into computers, with an automatic system with multiple levels of verification run by trained staff at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Most adults have driver’s licenses or government IDs from the DMV. With automatic voter registration, whenever you update your ID, your voter registration will also automatically update unless you choose to decline to register.

Getting a government ID requires several layers of verification, so automatic voter registration makes the system more secure. The chance of human error inherent with the old paper system will be a thing of the past.

And those aren’t the only advantages to this commonsense plan.

For military families like mine, automatic voter registration means one less thing to think about when you’re moving.

When I was serving with the 82nd Airborne in Iraq and moving from post to post during my time in the Army, it wasn’t always easy to keep my registration up to date. And automatic registration is also more convenient for rural families.

Additionally, states that have moved to automatic registration have saved money and reduced registration errors and problems.

When Oregon implemented automatic voter registration, it registered 250,000 new voters, reduced the number of ineligible people added to the voter rolls, and saved taxpayers money.

Voting is a sacred right of every American citizen, and Nevadans take that responsibility seriously. Nonetheless, there are 770,000 Nevadans who are eligible but not registered to vote. Every one of them, including military families who move frequently, deserve the right to be heard.

That’s why Nevadans broadly support increasing voter security, convenience, and participation with automatic voter registration. Supporting Question 5 is just commonsense.

Ryan Saunders is a Las Vegas native and a decorated Army veteran who served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Iraq War.

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