Lawyers for the Voters'
Rights Initiative filed an amended complaint in U.S. District Court in Reno on Wednesday
seeking to revive efforts to prevent the June 9 primary from going forward
under the special procedures the secretary of state ordered to help prevent the
spread of COVID-19.
New plaintiffs in the lawsuit
include Nevada Right to Life and a rural Republican running for county
commissioner. They are asking Judge Miranda Du to schedule an expedited hearing
and issue a ruling by the end of next week.
balloting is unnecessary to combat COVID-19," the amended complaint
"The curve is
flattening, the spread of the virus is being controlled, the fatality rate is
decreasing rapidly, testing is more readily available and widespread, and the
death rate is much lower than originally expected," it says.
The new filings also argue
recent changes made in Clark County to expand in-person voting opportunities
and send absentee ballots to all its registered voters in the Las Vegas area
give them an unfair advantage over other Nevadans.
Washoe County's registrar of
voters in Reno filed a motion Monday — and the state joined it Tuesday — asking
Du to dismiss the case for good.
Du rejected the original
complaint April 30 that alleged Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske
lacked authority to implement temporary procedures for the mail-in primary that
the critics say is vulnerable to voter fraud.
Five days later, Nevada's Democratic
Party dropped a separate lawsuit in state court challenging the primary rules
after Clark County agreed to open three polling places for in-person voting and
send absentee ballots to inactive as well as active registered voters.
Cegavske's plan requires only
one polling place be established in each of Nevada's 17 counties. It also
required that inactive voters who hadn't participated in either of the last two
federal elections be sent an absentee ballot only if they specifically
Early voting begins May 23.
In addition to the state's
leading anti-abortion group, new plaintiffs in the case include Gary Gladwill,
who is seeking the GOP nomination for county commissioner in Lyon County east
The amended complaint points
to Gov. Steve Sisolak's May 9 reopening of restaurants, salons and other
non-essential businesses that had been closed since mid-March.
"Along with other
states, Nevada has begun to emerge from its pandemic shutdown with phase one of
reopening," the complaint states. It said the same social distancing and
good hygiene practices that have proven effective in preventing the spread of
the virus at grocery stores and other essential businesses are also an
effective way to prevent the spread of COVD-19 for in-person voting.
At least 331 people have died
from the virus in Nevada. As of Wednesday, state health officials reported
6,394 positive cases among the 66,672 people who have been tested.
Sisolak's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
The Democratic governor said last week that casinos, nightclubs, spas and gyms must remain closed until further notice in an effort to continue to guard against the spread of the virus.
Nevada may be able to relax
more rules at the end of May, Sisolak said. But he also said he may need to
reimpose restrictions if the number of COVID-19 cases starts to balloon, and he
dismissed those who argue the virus no longer posed a threat to public health.
"I see some folks saying
mission accomplished," Sisolak said last week. "That's not