ACLU: Jails in compliance with voting law

By Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
This piece was originally published in the Nevada Current.

After threatening to sue multiple municipal jails for failing to comply with voting access law passed in 2023, the ACLU of Nevada announced Thursday that several jails throughout the state are fully compliant. 

The ACLU on Thursday identified detention centers in North Las Vegas, Henderson, Clark County, Washoe County, Carson City, and Mineral County as in compliance with state law ensuring people in jail who have the right to vote can cast a ballot.

Whether it’s being held for pre-trial detention or serving time for a misdemeanor, people in jail haven’t lost their right to vote.

However, accessing their right to cast a ballot isn’t always easy.

Lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 286, which received bipartisan support, requiring all county and city jails to update policies to ensure those detained can register and vote in elections. 

The law went into effect Jan. 1, and ACLU attorneys began reaching out to various counties to ensure it was being implemented. 

Six out of the 12 facilities didn’t provide information or have policies for same-day voter registration. The ACLU noted that seven facilities didn’t have information posted about in-jail voting. 

The ACLU told state lawmakers in March it was prepared to file lawsuits on April 15 against those counties if they were out of compliance and didn’t respond to requests. 

The organization filed a lawsuit against Elko County after it didn’t respond to requests for information. 

The ACLU said the county later reached out and as of Wednesday “reached a settlement agreement” to ensure compliance. 

“Every Nevada voter deserves the right to have their voices heard, and people detained in our jails are no exception,” Athar Haseebullah, the executive director for the ACLU of Nevada, said in a statement Thursday. “Thousands of Nevadans now have the chance to be heard and rightfully participate in our democracy. While it’s disappointing our jails would only implement such policies after demands and court filings, we remain encouraged by local governments to come into conformance with the law and remain grateful Elko County came to the negotiating table and is now compliant with AB286. “