The Nevada Senate on Monday gave final legislative approval to Initiative Petition 1, mandating Department of Motor Vehicles register voters when they get a drivers’ license.
The measure, approved a week ago by the Assembly, passed the Senate on a 12-9 party line vote with non-partisan Sen. Patricia Farley joining Republicans opposing the measure.
Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said people can opt out if they choose but the goal of the voter-approved petition is to get more people registered.
Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said the problem in the U.S. isn’t enough people vote.
“The problem is not voter fraud, it’s not having enough people registered,” he said.
Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said Nevada should be doing everything possible to strengthen its voter system but IP1 weakens it because there are many people who are legally entitled to a drivers’ license who are not eligible to vote including registered alien residents.
“This will register that person to vote even though they’re not entitled to legally,” Kieckhefer said.
He said the law isn’t necessary because DMV already has the ability to register voters.
Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, said implementing the bill will cost more than $1 million and “there are far better things to spend money on.”
Cannizzaro said DMV sends the voter registration information to the Secretary of State and county clerks who verify the information.
But Kieckhefer said those officials don’t verify citizenship — “there is no method to do that.”