American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Sends Notice to Nevada Secretary of State Regarding Nevada’s National Voter Registration Act Violations

LAS VEGAS, Nev.—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLUNV) notified the Nevada Secretary of State regarding Nevada’s systemic and ongoing violations of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993.

When the NVRA became law, it sought to reduce registration barriers for citizens, while substantially increasing voter registration. Nevada, however, is currently and continuously failing its citizens by erecting unnecessary obstacles to registration.

Nevada’s voter registration rate is fifth to last in the nation. Overall, only 58.5% of eligible Nevadans are currently registered to vote. According to the ACLUNV, while the state is continuously falling short of their obligations under the NVRA, The League of Women Voters of Nevada (LWVN) and similarly situated groups must expend significant time and resources to register people who should otherwise have been registered though contact with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

“The League of Women Voters focuses on registering new voters and helping current voters understand political processes. But in Nevada, we are forced to expend a substantial amount of time and energy helping people verify and update their voter registration status, due to Nevada’s noncompliance with the NVRA. We regularly encounter voters who believe new registrations and address changes have been processed by the DMV, when, in fact, they have not. Without our added effort, these voters would be turned away at the polls or only allowed to cast provisional ballots,” said Sondra Cosgrove, First Vice President League of Women Voters of Nevada.

The ACLUNV believes Nevada fails to meet the obligations of the NVRA because: (1) DMV applications do not serve as voter registration applications, and instead individuals are required to fill out a separate standalone voter registration form; (2) a change of address at the DMV does not always serve to update a voter’s registration application; and (3) the DMV is not properly submitting voter information to the appropriate election officials.

“Nevada’s citizens have waited nearly 23 years for a system that encourages and streamlines voter registration. The ACLUNV along with other Nevada advocacy groups have urged the Secretary of State’s office to comply with the NVRA for many years. Since Nevada’s DMV voter registration system continues to violate the NVRA, the ACLUNV is putting the state on notice. The state must act swiftly to ensure that every Nevadan is able to register as prescribed under the NVRA and then vote in the 2016 election cycle,” said Tod Story, executive director of the ACLUNV.

The letter is available here.

About American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada

Started in 1966, the ACLU of Nevada is celebrating its 50th year of public service. The ACLU of Nevada is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights for all people in Nevada. For additional information, please visit www.aclunv.org.

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