Secretary of state candidates focus on voter fraud issue
Each of the three candidates running for secretary of state, the office charged with supervising elections in Nevada, has made voter fraud a key issue in the campaign leading up to the Nov. 7 elections.
Republican Danny Tarkanian wants picture identification cards for voters to prevent non-citizens from casting ballots. Democrat Ross Miller opposes that, but supports tougher penalties instead. Independent American Party candidate Janine Hansen wants ballots printed in English only.
“I want people to show proof of citizenship when they go to the polls,” said Tarkanian, a Las Vegas businessman and attorney. “He’s (Miller) against that.”
Miller, a deputy district attorney in Clark County, wants increased enforcement of election laws and said Tarkanian’s ID requirement will reduce voter turnout.
“His proposal would actually require people to obtain proof of citizenship before they register,” Miller said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense in light of the lack of participation we already have.”
“The better way is to address it on the back end, have felony prosecutions of violations of our election laws,” Miller said. “Tough penalties and stiff enforcement, I think, goes a long way toward addressing the illegal activity.”
Hansen, a citizen lobbyist who was raised in Sparks and now lives in Elko, backs English-only ballots as one measure to prevent non-citizens from voting.
“People who are voting are supposed to be American citizens who read English,” said Hansen, a former Sparks resident who is executive director of the Independent American Party.
Hansen also wants signature checks at polling places.
“When people go to vote we need to make sure their signatures match the signature on the voter registration card,” she said. “That’s one way to increase security for our balloting.”
Miller also has proposed moving the state sex offender registry into the secretary of state’s office, a move Tarkanian has labeled “ridiculous” and outside the scope and resources of the office, which oversees elections and acts as a repository for corporate documents.
Miller has said that investigators who now work on corporate crime cases from the office are well-suited to track sex offenders who move but don’t update their registrations in the state database. He said Nevada had become a “safe haven” for sexual predators.
Tarkanian, 44, has a degree in business and finance from UNLV and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law. He’s involved in the Sound Foundation, Nevada PEP and Public Education Foundation.
Miller, 30, received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford, a law degree from Loyola Law School, and a master’s in business administration from Loyola Marymount University. He’s a former president of Citizen Alert, a grass-roots organization opposed to the Yucca Mountain project. He’s also a board member of HELP of Southern Nevada, and a board member of Legacy Society of the Boys and Girls Club.
Hansen, 54, graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree. She’s a citizen lobbyist at the Nevada Legislature, state president of Nevada Eagle Forum, and executive director of the Nevada IAP.