The last couple of times Barbara Cegavske backed bills in the Nevada Legislature to require voters to show photo identification to cast ballots, the proposed legislation didn’t make it out of committee. Democrats blocked voter ID legislation in 2007 and in 2009, when Cegavske supported such bills, and beyond. Even when Republicans ran the state Senate in the past, the idea was rejected because of the potential cost of providing photo IDs to people who might not already have a driver’s license or some other form of identification. With Cegavske’s 2014 election as Nevada’s secretary of state and with Republicans in the majority in both houses of the Legislature for the first time in decades, Cegavske said she’s optimistic she finally will see a voter ID requirement become law. The Republican mentioned voter ID on the day of her swearing-in, making it a top priority. “Cegavske is a proponent of showing identification at polling places and will continue efforts to maintain the integrity of Nevada’s elections,” her office said Jan. 5 as she became Nevada’s 17th top election official. GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval also has expressed support for voter ID, making it likely he would sign a bill into law.
Laws requiring voter IDs and tightening up other election rules have been sweeping the county as more Republican governors and lawmakers win election and as civil rights leaders protest the changes they argue could disenfranchise thousands of voters. Now, 17 states require photo IDs to vote and 19 states have non-photo ID requirements.
Under current Nevada law, voters must sign their names in an election board register at their polling places. The signature is compared with the signature on the voter’s original application to vote or another form of identification, such as a driver’s license, military identification or some other government-issued ID. If the signatures don’t appear to match, voters can be asked to show ID. If they have none, they can fill out a provisional ballot.
Details of a new plan for a Nevada voter ID bill are uncertain. Cegavske said she doesn’t plan to request a bill be written but expects to work with lawmakers who have supported such legislation in the past.