Nevada can’t extend mail-in deadline in voter registration
October 7, 2016
Wayne Thorley, elections deputy at the Secretary of State's office, said Thursday he can't extend the deadline for accepting mail-in voter registrations.
That extension was demanded by U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Patrick Leahy of Vermont who said Nevada and nine other states are in violation of the National Voter Rights Act that requires mail-in applications be accepted if they're postmarked 30 days before an election. The senators said that falls on a Sunday this year and, since the next day is Columbus Day, there will be no postal service until Tuesday.
Nevada doesn't recognize Columbus Day as a holiday because it celebrates Nevada Day instead.
Schumer and Leahy argued that shutting down mail-in registrations even two days early could disenfranchise thousands of potential voters in those states. They said the other 40 states were adjusting their deadlines to deal with the long holiday weekend and are accepting applications postmarked by Tuesday, October 11.
They asked the Justice Department to step in.
Thorley said he has no authority to change that in Nevada because it's in statute.
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But he said that doesn't mean people can't register to vote, just that they can't do so by mail. He said they can still register in person at their county clerk's office or online until Oct. 18. The deadline to register to vote online or at the Clerk's office is Oct. 18. Information about registering is available at https://nvsos.gov/sosvoterservices/Registration/step1.aspx or Carson City residents can go in person to the County Election office at 885 East Musser St.
He said the Voter Rights Act is the problem: "Thirty days before any election is always on a Sunday because elections are on Tuesday."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.