New laws change elections, sentencing
Next year’s election process will be an interesting one thanks to new laws enacted by the Nevada Legislature.
Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Lewis said changes included same-day voter registration and that results will be spread out across the week following the election, since the clerk’s office must count ballots that are postmarked on Election Day.
“The results will change throughout that next week,” she said.
Primary elections are June 9, 2020, and the general election is Nov. 3, 2020.
Lewis, Sheriff Dan Coverley, Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, Sen. James Settelmeyer, Commissioner Dave Nelson, Commissioner Wes Rice and Nevada Republican Party Legislative Affairs Director Josh Skaggs.
Lewis said her office was working to ensure the integrity of elections, despite the challenges.
“The law change allows voters to register the same day as they vote,” she said. “The only way that works is by allowing provisional ballots. We will do checks on them to make sure a person hasn’t voted in another county in Nevada.”
She plans to upload voter counts and results each evening after an election while the count is fluctuating.
The county will have a little more time to canvass the vote.
Coverley said changes in the state’s drug law won’t prevent his deputies from aggressive enforcement.
“It doesn’t affect how we will enforce these laws in Douglas County,” he said. “If you’re in possession of a drug you’re going to jail. If you’re selling drugs, you’re going to jail. We will continue to aggressively work that as we have before.”
He said most of the changes have to do with the penalties for crimes, including reducing theft and drug crimes down slightly.
“One of the bills we were watching was AB 236,” he said. “The end result was not as bad as we feared. I’m not real happy, but it’s not as bad as we thought.”
He said it appears the Legislature tried to mimic California’s efforts to reduce penalties for drug offenses.
“That has increased the use of hard drugs in the community, and you can see that less than 20 miles away in the City of South Lake Tahoe, where heroin is being used openly, and most they can do is give a ticket for possession,” he said.
He said he anticipates a law enacted that requires background checks for firearms will be challenged in court.
Rice said that Clark County’s majority could overwhelm the rest of the state at some point.
“Most of us moved here from California because we didn’t like what was going on in California,” Rice said. “The problem is that California has been moving into Clark County.”
Skaggs told the crowd that increasing the number of Republicans in 2020 the Legislature will be critical due to redistricting.
“We have one shot in 2020,” he said. “Redistricting is up and we need to win at least three senate seats to have a seat at the table. Twenty-twenty is not just an election, it’s a mission statement.”
Skaggs said Democrats in the Legislature are following a national agenda.
“Our six electoral votes were under siege,” he said. “We snowballed that bill. He talked about the thousands of Nevadans who called his office, and that was Douglas County.”