Voting-rights groups vow to fight on after victory in Washoe County

Voting-rights groups vow to fight on after victory in Washoe County
Many people attended the Washoe Board of County Commissioners meeting March 22, 2022 to provide public comment on a resolution that proposed sweeping, and in some cases illegal, changes to the county's voting rules. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.

RENO — Fresh off a victory in Washoe County, Nevada groups fighting for greater access to voting are turning their attention to ballot measures seeking to restrict access.

A group known as “Repair the Vote,” led by former Republican congressional candidate David Gibbs, is gathering signatures for a referendum to roll back mail-in ballots. Its goal is to nullify parts of Assembly Bill 321. Another measure would require voters to show ID at the polls.

Daela Gibson, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte which has a location in Reno, and a member of the group Let Nevadans Vote, said the group hopes to succeed across the state.

“The Let Nevadans Vote coalition is committed to monitoring and fighting against voter suppression in all of our counties.”

Last week, the Washoe County Commission rejected a proposal by Commissioner Jeanne Herman to make 20 separate changes to voting procedures. Herman wanted to require ballots to be delivered by certified mail, to post sheriff’s deputies at polling places, and to make it illegal for voters to designate someone else to turn in their ballot.

Herman’s suggestions would also have limited early-voting polling locations to one machine at each site, which opponents said would create huge lines. And Gibson pointed out the proposal would have taken thousands of people off the voting rolls.

“Another one was purging voter registrations after five years,” Gibson added. “So, every five years you would have to re-register to vote, even if you had voted.”

The authors of both Washoe County’s proposal and the proposed ballot measures cited concerns about the potential for voter fraud, a fear Gibson calls “misguided.”

“There is nothing to support widespread voter fraud, and to react to something that isn’t there is problematic,” Gibson contended.