NV Gov vetoes bill to make voting easier, falsely says state has high turnout

Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada vetoed a bill aimed at making voting easier—the second voting reform Sandoval has rejected in recent months.

And in explaining the move, Sandoval falsely said his state has a high voting rate.

Late last month, Sandoval known as a relative GOP moderate, vetoed a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature that would have made a number of changes to increase access to the polls.

The measure would have created voting centers where any voter can cast a ballot, rather than having to vote only in their own precinct. It also would have allowed local election officials to expand voting hours if needed, and to establish Sunday voting. And it would have required that ballots be printed in Mandarin and Cantonese to accommodate the state’s more than 30,000 Chinese-Americans, and would have provided more polling places on Indian reservations.

During early voting, Nevadans can vote at any polling site, but on election day they’re limited to their precinct. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, the bill’s sponsor, said the move to vote centers can help reduce confusion.

Announcing his veto, Sandoval called Nevada’s voting system “one of the most open and accessible” in the country. He added: “Given Nevada’s high rate of eligible-voter participation, there is no reason to believe that voters who want to vote do not have the opportunity to do so.”

In fact, according to the best information currently available, just 57.3 percent of eligible Nevada voters cast a ballot in the last presidential election. That’s below the national rate of 59.3 percent, and puts Nevada 37th among states.

A spokeswoman for Sandoval didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the discrepancy.

Voting didn’t go perfectly smoothly in Nevada last fall. A polling site in a Hispanic neighborhood of Las Vegas was kept open late on the final day of early voting to accommodate everyone who was in line at the official 7pm closing time. That was proper, but it led to a lawsuit by the Trump campaign, which claimed voters who weren’t in line at 7pm were allowed to vote. The suit was rejected.

In March, Sandoval vetoed a bill that would have established automatic voter registration, which would have allowed voters to be added to the rolls whenever they come into contact with the DMV.

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