When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Nevada lawmakers, choice officials, and also state workplaces did the appropriate thing and readjusted election procedures to make sure that we might all poll safely. Yet it shouldn’t take a publicly health situation to protect Nevadans’ right to vote. Currently is the moment to make sure that these alters are permanent.

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In August, Gov. Steve Sisolak signed AB4, a sweeping and also necessary choice reform package consisting of mailing a ballot through prepaid return postage to every eligible Nevadans, an ext thorough signature-matching measures for mailed ballots, and also protections because that in-person polling places. But the downside is that it only uses during a state of emergency. Why need to Nevadans only have actually safe and also secure accessibility to vote during a crisis?

AB4 aided ensure the Nevada voters didn’t have to choose in between their health and also their ideal to vote. And also it paid off. Nevada voters verified up for this election, embracing unfamiliar processes, with more than 1.4 million voters making your voices heard.

AB4’s directive because that county officials to mail a ballot come every active, registered voter, brought the alternative of vote by letter to Nevadans, a population that, because that the many part, votes in person. And also Nevadans approved.

More than 47 percent of Nevada voters cast mailed ballots. For the 2016 presidential election, that number was simply 7 percent.

Voting by letter is safe, secure, and convenient, pandemic or not, and also it should proceed to it is in made widely obtainable to all Nevadans. Mailed ballots space tracked from the day they are printed to the work they space counted. And also mail voting take away the press off the election Day rush.

As a part of the nonpartisan Election security team tasked through assisting voters and also answering concerns on choice Day, I saw firsthand countless voters expressing relief and also excitement of gift able come skip lines in ~ polling places and also simply fall off their completed mailed ballots.

AB4 also made it much easier for voter to verify your ballot, if lock forgot to sign it or a vote worker misinterpreted your signature.

The legislation mandated that county officials call voters to describe how come fix any errors with their ballots. Election workers mailed notices and also called more than 12,584 voters, and also verified much more than 9,697 ballots.

U.S. Postal service delays showed that ballot autumn boxes were critical. AB4 guaranteed access by requiring that all counties have actually at least one autumn box; 14 out of the 17 counties in Nevada in reality placed more than one.

In Humboldt County, adhering to pressure from advocates including All poll is Local, the enhancement of one ballot drop off place alone lessened travel times to the nearest voting location from over an hour to seven minutes for voters living ~ above the fort McDermitt Reservation.

Still, poll by letter is no a cure-all. The pandemic and the growth of poll by mail could have intimidated voters’ accessibility to one in-person polling place, however AB4’s directive to store a minimum number polling locations open was vital in ensuring the all Nevadans have equal accessibility to the ballot.

Some voters—for example, the 26 percent of indigenous Americans in surrounding Arizona without a U.S. Postal organization address—do not have access to a trustworthy vote by mail option. Some civilization with disabilities or voters with language accessibility needs count on in-person vote to cast their ballot. Protecting default voters’ alternative to vote in human on election Day or throughout early voting, or actors a ballot through mail, lets them select what works for them.

When the legislature meets because that the 81st legislative session on Feb. 1, lawmakers need to prioritize making AB4 permanent.

AB4 verified what is possible when officials satisfy the requirements of the world in a crisis. But it shouldn’t take it a deadly pandemic because that Nevadans to have free, same elections. AB4 gave us a glimpse the the way voting must be for us all. We need to not turn earlier now.

Kerry Durmick is All poll is Local’s Nevada State Director.

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For an ext than a decade, Durmick has led outreach, ar organizing, project efforts, media relations, and policy decision to ensure the all Nevadans are involved in our democracy. Prior to joining every Voting is Local, she offered as Statewide Census Coordinator for the Nevada Census 2020 operation. Before that, Durmick served as the representative and also grants director for U.S. City council Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), In both positions, Durmick effectively implemented statewide strategies to increase civic engagement and expand educational resources for Nevadans. Durmick graduated through a Bachelor of scientific research in Public management from the university of Arkansas and a master of arts in political Science, Legislative studies from the university of Texas at Dallas.