Feb 18, 2022
The Nevada Democratic Party and voting rights advocates sounded the alarm Thursday over a local Republican's proposal to station National Guard members at every polling place in the state's second-largest county, purge voting records, and impose new restrictions on mail-in ballots.
"This travesty is not an independent event--it is part of a concerted effort by right-wing extremists."
Introduced by Republican Washoe County Commissioner Jeanne Herman, the proposal is set for consideration and a possible final vote at the county board's next meeting on Tuesday, February 22.
Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer said the stakes of the local board meeting are huge, arguing in a statement late Thursday that the county GOP's proposal "represents the single most vicious voter suppression attempt in recent history, surpassing even the tactics being used against voters in Texas and Georgia."
"It is with absolute outrage that we have discovered a shocking effort to assault the electoral process of Washoe County," said Whitmer. "We recognize that this travesty is not an independent event--it is part of a concerted effort by right-wing extremists to delegitimize and ultimately dismantle the foundations of free and fair elections."
"Nevada is an increasingly critical battleground state, and as the attacks on the integrity of our democracy intensify, so must our efforts to defend it," she added. "We are calling upon all Washoe residents--regardless of party or affiliation--to loudly speak out against this unconscionable resolution."
Nevada, which President Joe Biden carried narrowly in 2020, was one of the flashpoints of former President Donald Trump's failed attempt to overturn his electoral defeat--an effort animated by claims about large-scale fraud, voting machine hacking, and other falsehoods.
"Donald Trump won [Nevada] after you account for the fraud and irregularities that occurred," Trump campaign attorney Jesse Binnall told reporters in November 2020 as he announced an election lawsuit that the Nevada Supreme Court ultimately rejected.
Herman's new resolution is seen as an outgrowth of the Republican Party's commitment to acting on Trump's falsehoods about the 2020 election, which critics have collectively dubbed the "Big Lie."
As of January 14 of this year, the Brennan Center for Justice notes in its latest analysis, GOP legislators in at least 27 states have introduced, pre-filed, or carried over 250 bills that would curtail voting rights.
According to the Nevada Independent, Herman's proposal "includes a change to 'stealth paper ballots as [the] primary method of voting,' and would provide for just a single electronic voting kiosk to comply with requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)."
"Other proposed measures call for all ballots to be counted by hand and continuously until counting is complete--the county saw more than 250,000 votes cast during the 2020 general election--and for Nevada National Guard personnel to be present at each polling and ballot box location and Washoe County's central counting center," the outlet noted. "The list also includes less-defined proposals open for interpretation, including 'providing equitable and fair opportunities for observation' and 'enacting any other measure that ensures the accuracy, security, and purity of elections.'"
Kerry Durmick, state director of All Voting Is Local Nevada, warned Thursday that "this anti-voter resolution would disenfranchise Washoe County voters by asking the Washoe County Registrar's office to implement unconstitutional and illegal measures."
"This resolution will only negatively impact access to the ballot," said Durmick, "and we urge the county commission to reject these measures and uphold the freedom to vote for all Nevadans."
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