Secretary of State: voter initiative still in works

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Lawmakers expressed concern Monday over whether the Secretary of State’s office will be able to implement the voter-approved voter registration initiative in time for the 2020 election cycle.

Elections Deputy Wayne Thorley told the subcommittee studying the office’s budget they’re putting together a steering committee as well as a security team and working group of state, DMV and county officials to figure it all out but they fully expect to have things done in time. At this point, he said they haven’t gotten to the point where they can say which option will be used.

“Depending on the recommendations they put forward and what that steering committee decides to pursue will decide which funding option will be required,” Thorley said.

The office has said in the past that options range from little or no cost to the Secretary of State’s office to $4.8 million. Thorley said that all depends on how DMV gets the voter registration data to the county voter registrars with a central database maintained by his office being the most expensive.

In any event, there will be costs to the county voter registrars and DMV.

Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City, said he was concerned if the option chosen is the $4.8 million option, there won’t be time to get it done.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas., said he was concerned the decision has already been made, ”and we’re just going through the motions.”

“We took the $4 million option off the table,” said Craig Kozeniesky of the Secretary of State’s operations division. “It was too long and too complicated.”

Thorley said the decentralized election process is somewhat unique to Nevada since each of the 17 counties runs its own voter registration and election systems. But he said they’re in contact not only with all those officials but the ACLU and a number of other nonprofit and civil rights groups.

Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, D-North Las Vegas, said he wants to ensure public input on those committees as well.

“I’m a little concerned that no one from this body is on it,” said Frierson.


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