by Kevin Dietrich, Nevada Policy Research Institute, March 29, 2023
Gov. Joe Lombardo is seeking to bolster Nevada’s voting process through legislation that would repeal universal mail-in voting, require residents to produce IDs when casting ballots and establish earlier deadlines for mail ballots.
Senate Bill 405, introduced Monday, would also require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue free voter identification cards to those who can’t afford them.
SB 405 seeks to rescind changes made permanent two years ago, when lawmakers codified sweeping alterations to how Nevadans vote. Originally, Nevada’s voting process was modified temporarily in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 situation.
Lombardo submitted the bill in an effort to enact common sense election reforms in Nevada, Lombardo spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“SB 405 will help restore faith and timeliness in our election system, so that every Nevadan has confidence that our voting process is free and fair,” she added.
Under the bill, Nevadans would no longer automatically receive mail-in ballots, but would instead have to request them. Those voting by mail would have to include the last four digits of their social security number, drivers license number or ID card number on return envelopes.
Mail ballots would have to be received by county clerks or delivered to a drop box before polls close on election day. And, in an attempt to cut down on ballot harvesting, it would be illegal for individuals to return mail ballots for anyone else without authorization from the voter.
Polling earlier this year showed strong support to strengthen Nevada’s voting laws. Nearly three of four individuals polled believe voters should have to produce a photo ID, and 65 percent are in favor of earlier deadlines for mail-in ballots. More than half of those polled said they wanted to end the practice of mailing ballots to all registered voters.