Guest op-ed: Nevada voting rights progress is on the line

June 20, 2018 5:00 am

Clark County Election Department photo.

For too long, politicians have been putting up barriers to voting and making it harder for people to exercise their constitutional rights.

In 2017, Jason Kander founded Let America Vote to create political consequences for politicians who engage in voter suppression. Across the country this year, we’re finding the politicians who are making it harder for Americans to vote – and making it harder for them to get reelected.

Nevada is among Let America Vote’s key states this year, and we’re proud to announce we’re fully staffed up and ready to begin reaching out to voters in an effort that will continue through the November general election.

But unlike most of Let America Vote’s target states this year, Nevada presents a golden opportunity to go on offense.  We have a pro-voting rights measure on the ballot this year and a slate of proven voting rights champions already in office, allowing Nevadans to advance the cause of voting rights in real, meaningful ways this year.

Nevada moved to the vanguard of voting rights in 2017.

Under the leadership of Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, Nevadans saw their legislature pass measures restoring the rights of 90,000 Nevadans; extending the voter-registration period; and allowing Native Americans to request polling locations on tribal land.

But amid those successes, we saw more expansive and innovative bills killed by Republican intransigence. And the reason was pretty obvious: Republicans know if it’s easier for eligible Nevadans to get registered and cast a ballot, they’re likely to lose more elections.

Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller acknowledged this reality directly not too long ago.

“We now have less than 60,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. Let me be more clear. If we can get that number below 50,000, I can’t lose,” Heller said. “If we have 100,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of Nevada or more, I can’t win. Let me say that again, if we have 100,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of Nevada, I can’t win.”

Pause for a minute on just how cynical that is.

In America, politicians seeking elected office should win on ideas, not because they blocked enough eligible voters to ensure their victory.

On June 15th, Let America Vote officially kicked off our field operations in Nevada. We’ll be taking on Sen. Heller’s cronies in state government and making sure they face consequences for their actions.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.