Nevada’s mandatory voter registration costs being worked on

The Interim Finance Committee was told on Tuesday the Secretary of State’s office and DMV are still trying to figure out how to implement the voter registration statute approved Nov. 6.

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske told lawmakers her Elections Division is asking for $234,000 to support development of the system for the rest of this fiscal year. DMV is asking for $84,000 for the rest of this fiscal year and $87,000 for FY2020.

Cegavske assured lawmakers her office is open to all stakeholders willing to help with the process.

Question 5 mandates DMV automatically register eligible people to vote when they show up for other business such as license renewals. The problem is no one considered the potential cost of such things as determining eligibility of potential voters.

The voter approved statute requires people to either register or sign forms saying they don’t want to and the law can’t be changed for three years.

DMV’s initial estimate was the software upgrades would cost $60,000 plus $56,000 a year to update applications for licenses, postage and other needs.

Elections Deputy Wayne Thorley said the cost to the Secretary of State’s office depends on how the new law is implemented. He said if DMV sends the voter registration information directly to county registrars, there would be no impact to his office. But more involvement would create costs and if the Secretary of State’s office had to develop a statewide voter registration database, it could cost $4.8 million.

He said after the law passed no matter what, the new law will create a financial impact on the counties.

Carson City Clerk Aubrey Rowlatt said the statute could add 10,000 to the number of registered voters in Carson City. She estimated the statute would require one-time expenses of $186,225 in office equipment, software and additional voting machines and cost $61,200 a year for at least one added staff member, postage and printing more sample and absentee ballots.

Clark County, for example, has estimated $200,000 in programming and one time costs up to $500,000 in staff, printing and other recurring costs.


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