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Nevada secretary of state seeks ballot harvesting oversight

The Associated Press
FILE - In this June 9, 2020, file photo election workers process mail-in ballots during a nearly all-mail primary election in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/John Locher

Nevada’s top election official requested an emergency regulation adding more oversight to the state’s newly passed law allowing ballot harvesting.

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske sent a request to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak Monday seeking the regulation that would add rules to the collection of ballots by people who are not related to other voters, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The process, known as ballot harvesting, was legalized to help conduct general election voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The regulation sought by Cegavske, a Republican, would require any person who returns 10 or more ballots at the direction of other voters to report any political, corporate or advocacy group associations to the secretary of state’s office.

Cegavske’s request said the regulation is needed to ensure she has “the information necessary to investigate and stop illegal activity associated with ballot harvesting.”

Sisolak spokeswoman Meghin Delaney said in an email that the governor’s office will review the request.

Ballot harvesting was outlawed by the Nevada Legislature in 1993, but was changed in 1999 to allow family members to return ballots on behalf of relatives.

The updated ballot harvesting bill signed by Sisolak after passage by lawmakers in a special session this month also expands voting by mail.

Cegavske, Nevada’s only Republican constitutional officer, said the passage “eliminated an enduring state law that served to protect the integrity of elections.”

Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Molly Forgey said Cegavske’s request is an attempt to limit voter assistance amid the pandemic.

“This move by the Secretary of State is clearly a partisan attempt to make it more difficult to implement voter assistance laws and closely resembles Trump and the GOP’s voter suppression playbook,” Forgey said in a statement.