Two voter ID measures, with one amended in its entirety to encompass a proposal from the 2013 session that would have created electronic poll books with voter photos, moved out of the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee on Thursday without a recommendation. Both Assembly Bill 253 by Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, and Assembly Bill 266 by Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, R-Sparks, will be re-referred to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee because of the fiscal notes attached to the measures.
Yet another Republican-controlled state is looking to impose a voter ID law just in time for the 2016 elections. GOP state lawmakers in Nevada are readying ID bills for early next year, Secretary of State-Elect Barbara Cegavske told msnbc in an interview. Cegavske said she knew of two separate bills that might end up being merged together. “They’re writing them now,” said Cegavske, a Republican and a supporter of voter ID. “It just depends on how soon they get them in.” Last week, Republicans took full control of state government for the first time since 1929, meaning a voter ID bill would likely have a strong chance of passing. Governor Brian Sandoval has said in the past he supports voter ID. The GOP takeover also has raised fears of a broader rightward shift for the state, on everything from immigration to Stand Your Ground laws.
Nevada’s election chief says the state’s much-ballyhooed new system for electronically delivering absentee ballots to troops and other citizens overseas isn’t an “online” voting system, even if it offers those abroad the option of emailing marked ballots to county clerks. But his boss, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, described the system differently in testimony to Congress last year, boasting that it would allow voters abroad “to request, mark and deliver a ballot to their county without the need of a printer or a scanner.” The office of Pentagon Inspector General John Rymer is taking a hard look at systems like Nevada’s to see whether they’re violating a prohibition on the use of Defense Department grant dollars to create online voting systems, a spokeswoman for Rymer told McClatchy. The prohibition was spurred by concerns that those systems are vulnerable to hackers. Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, the chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel, and the panel’s ranking Democrat, California Rep. Susan Davis, wrote Rymer last June requesting “a full and thorough investigation” to determine whether they’re designed to return votes electronically. So far, the inspector general’s office said, Rymer has ordered only an “assessment” of whether grant recipients are skirting the rules – a review not previously disclosed. At Wilson’s and Davis’ request, the inspector general’s office also is examining how an obscure Pentagon unit, whose task is to facilitate absentee voting overseas, spent $85 million in research funding from 2009 to 2013, Rymer’s office said.
An out-of-state conservative group wants you to call Democratic Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller and tell him that you’re “sick of his costly hypocrisy.” If you think this sounds like a campaign ad, that’s because it is. A group called the State Government Leadership Foundation has attacked Miller for sponsoring a transparency and good-governance bill at the Legislature while alleging that Miller hasn’t been ethical himself. Ironically, some of the “lavish gifts” Miller has received would be curtailed under his banner bill, which he calls the Aurora Act. Miller also defends the gifts, which include football games, theatrical performances and UFC fights. “I disclose absolutely everything,” he said, noting that the gifts are legal.
Nevada: Secretary of State Miller battles perceptions in pushing bill for photos in voter rosters | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com
Ross Miller’s goal in his final legislative session as Nevada’s secretary of state is to give Nevada voters, “undeniably the best election system in the country,” he said. And in a state that sees itself at the bottom of key national rankings, Miller adds, “And what’s the matter with Nevada being first?” Miller, however, faces a steep challenge in getting his “Election Modernization” bill through the Legislature. Problems to passage include money, necessity and perhaps the most difficult issue — perception. People easily form a misunderstanding of Miller’s Senate Bill 63. It would replace Nevada’s paper voters rosters with electronic ones. One of the keys of the laptop-friendly system would be the use of driver’s license photos from the Department of Motor Vehicles — as well as the current system of personal signatures — to identify voters. When people hear the word, “photo,” they jump to wrong conclusions, said Miller, a Democrat. Some fear the law means a voter must carry a government photo identification to vote. It doesn’t.
Secretary of State Ross Miller’s plan to digitize Nevada polling records and add voter photos to the database was met with mixed reaction Thursday from county registrars who applauded the modernization effort but were concerned it would still allow people to cast a ballot if photos and signatures didn’t match. Miller, in presenting SB63 to the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections, said the bill was “an opportunity for state, not the voter, to ensure that every eligible voter is able to exercise their right.” He added no voter be required to “produce a piece of plastic” before casting a ballot. No action was taken by the committee. Passage appeared unlikely given the cool reception it received from Democrats and Republicans’ preference for voter identification cards.
National: Secretaries of State announce national task force on emergency preparations for elections | FoxReno
To support state efforts aimed at establishing sound administrative election practices in emergency conditions, Nevada Secretary of State and National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) President Ross Miller and NASS members today announce the formation of a Task Force on Emergency Preparedness for Elections. The task force is a national initiative, formed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast just days before the presidential election on November 6, 2012. The effort will focus on identifying laws and practices that enhance the ability of state election officials to prepare for, and respond to, emergency situations.
Secretary of State Ross Miller said Tuesday the cost of his proposal to include photos of voters in election poll books used at polling places to prevent fraud is $787,200, far less than originally estimated. The original estimate was between $5 million and $10 million, but that was based only on a similar proposal discussed in Minnesota. “Less than $800,000 is a small price to pay to enhance and modernize our existing system,” Miller said. “When we have the opportunity to increase access to our polling locations and further strengthen the security of our system, without disenfranchising any voters, we should do so. With 1.3 million active registered voters in Nevada, upgrading the system would only cost 60 cents per voter.”
The perception that America’s electoral system is rife with voter fraud presents a challenge for elections officials, several secretaries of state said Thursday. “I think perception is a problem. You have to work aggressively to try to deal with perception irrespective of whether or not voter fraud occurs in any degree of significance,” Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) said at a D.C. panel on modernizing the election process hosted by the Brennan Center on Thursday. Miller said his approach was to form an election integrity task force made up of a variety of local officials and law enforcement personnel. “What it has allowed us to do is say, look, this isn’t just one partisan official that’s burying these allegations under the rug, this is a multi-jurisdictional approach. If there were any evidence of it, we’d investigate it.”
Secretary of State Ross Miller on Friday faced tough questions at a public hearing about his proposal to use photos to verify voters’ identities, with opponents worried the system could be costly or allow ineligible voters and non-citizens to cast ballots. In response, Miller said an electronic poll book using photos of registered voters instead of signatures would allow immediate ID checks with government databases, ensuring no fraud. He argued it would be more reliable and bring the election system into the Internet age of online records. “It would actually be more secure,” Miller said at a two-hour forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Nevada: Secretary of State Miller pitches state voter ID bill to Reno Republicans | Reno Gazette-Journal
Secretary of State Ross Miller presented his case for a Nevada voter ID bill at Reno’s Republican Men’s Club and got a warm reception. Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick was cheered loudly when he stood up and said “It’s about time Nevada has a voter ID bill.” Miller, a Democrat, was complimented by many in the audience for what he called “stepping into the lion’s den,” and presenting his plan to a group of Republicans. Yet Miller could get a better reception from the GOP than from his own party, noted State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, who spoke earlier in the day and questioned the $10 million possible price tag for the bill.
Nevada: Miller’s voter identification proposal could ease way for same-day registration | Las Vegas Sun News
Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller’s announcement this month that he would pursue a new voter identification approach sent Democrats sounding the voter suppression alarm bells, while Republicans applauded the news. But the carrot Miller is trying to use to lure his liberal base back into the fold isn’t one that Republicans would relish chomping. Miller hasn’t spoken much about it publicly, but privately he is working to assuage the concerns of liberal Democrats by touting the fact his idea for electronically linking driver’s license photos to the voting rolls could be a step toward same-day voter registration in Nevada.
A few weeks after he stunned the Nevada political world, especially elected officials and activists in his own party, with a “visual verification” plan (Don’t call it voter ID!), Secretary of State Ross Miller is in fence-mending mode. Or explanatory mode. Or “what I meant to say” mode. Miller acknowledged on “Ralston Reports” shortly after Review-Journal reporter Ed Vogel broke the story that it was not his most graceful unfurling of a policy initiative (damn media didn’t help). Beyond a few economia here and there, Miler has been savaged by the left, which sees this as some kind of nefarious plot to win over Republicans in his attorney general’s campaign, as well as a seemingly less than cardinal sin: suppress voters.
It was only a matter of time … After nearly a month of focus on long lines, voter ID is making a comeback in the headlines. The big news is a new proposal by Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) which is getting national attention. The proposal has gotten interesting reactions, many of them predictable. Republican legislators seem to like the idea, as evidenced by the comments of Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey: “The fact that the current system does not require any voter identifications rubs a lot of people the wrong way … I think the concept is very worthy of looking into. We need to see the details. The integrity of elections is at the center of believable democracy.”
The head of the Clark County Election Department on Monday supported Secretary of State Ross Miller’s proposal to use photos to verify voters’ identities at the polls, arguing a new system could make it easier for election workers and cut down on intimidation. Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said political campaigns and parties now send poll watchers to ensure election clerks properly check every voter signature on paper, creating a tense atmosphere. At the same time, voters often object when asked to show ID when their signatures don’t appear to match the registration book, he added. Nevada law doesn’t require showing ID before voting, but it can be requested to verify identity.
A proposal by Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller to seek a voter photo requirement in the upcoming Legislature appears dead before arrival, with legislative leaders of his own party expressing opposition. Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas question how Nevada can afford the $10 million to $20 million price tag of a voter ID program when the state faces more pressing needs. Denis said there was scant evidence of organized voter fraud in the fall elections, so it makes no sense to implement the Miller plan.
Nevada: Liberal activists suspicious, conservatives applaud Miller’s voter ID proposal | Las Vegas Sun News
Since taking office, Secretary of State Ross Miller has declared Nevada’s electoral system to be safe enough from fraud that a voter identification system shouldn’t be a priority. On Tuesday, he took a step back from that line, proposing a hybrid photo ID system to help protect the integrity of future elections. “I don’t believe voter fraud is happening on a widespread basis, but elections are about perception,” Miller said in an interview Tuesday. “You have to do everything you can to put enough safeguards in the system so that people feel confident in the integrity of the process.” Miller’s proposal, which he will introduce during the next legislative session, includes linking Nevada’s voter lists with photos from the Department of Motor Vehicles so the voter’s picture would be displayed for poll workers before a ballot is cast. Voters who don’t have a driver’s license would have their picture taken and entered into the system the first time they vote in person.
Spurred by many Nevadans complaining during this year’s contentious elections that some people were voting illegally, Secretary of State Ross Miller said Tuesday he will sponsor a bill at the Legislature to require voter photo IDs. Under his proposal that will be considered by lawmakers in 2013, the photos on residents’ driver’s licenses would be placed electronically with their voter registration records and in the poll books at election locations. People without any identification, but who are registered, would be required to have their pictures taken by poll workers and sign an affidavit that they are the person they represent the first time they vote.
In a sign of increasing anxiety over the use of electronic voting machines, the Republican National Committee this week alleged problems with e-voting machines in six states that use them for early voting. John Phillippe, general counsel of the RNC, contended in a letter to the secretaries of state in Nevada, Ohio, Kansas, North Carolina, Missouri and Colorado that voting machine errors caused some early votes cast for Gov. Mitt Romney to be credited to President Barack Obama. Phillippe said in the letter that the RNC learned about the alleged voting machine errors from media and citizen reports. The RNC letter evoked an angry response from a Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, who called the RNC claims “irresponsible” and “unfortunate,” and said that they are based on rumor, hearsay and unconfirmed media reports.
Nevada’s “none of the above” voting option will be on the November ballot following an emergency stay sought by the secretary of state’s office and granted by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco blocked the injunction Tuesday and had strong words for U.S. District Judge Robert Jones, who last month declared the voting option unconstitutional and struck it from the ballot. One appellate judge accused Jones, chief judge in Nevada, of deliberate foot-dragging by delaying hearings in the case and not issuing a written order in time for state lawyers to appeal before ballots must be printed. “His dilatory tactics appear to serve no purpose other than to seek to prevent the state from taking an appeal of his decision before it must print the ballots,” 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote. He concluded, “Such arrogance and assumption of power by one individual is not acceptable in our judicial system.”
A quirky Nevada law that Republicans feared could siphon votes from a disgruntled electorate and sway the outcome of close presidential and U.S. Senate races in the state was struck down Wednesday by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Robert Jones said the state’s decades-old ballot alternative of “none of the above” was unconstitutional because votes for “none” don’t count in the final tallies that determine winners. The ruling came at the end of a lively hearing where the judge challenged both sides in the legal arguments with hypothetical questions and ramifications of possible rulings he was considering. In the end, he struck the option down altogether for both federal and statewide races, and refused to grant a stay while his decision is appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Secretary of State Ross Miller said his office would pursue “an immediate and expedited appeal to protect the long-standing public interest of the ‘none of these candidates’ option.”
Americans for Prosperity spent tens of millions of dollars on the 2010 election and will spend tens of millions more this year to see conservative advocates of limited government elected — all without revealing any of its contributors. Taking advantage of a complex web of federal laws, the group, founded and financed by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, has successfully kept its donors secret. But when AFP decided to wade into a Nevada Senate primary in June, it might have triggered a state law that could open its donor list to the public. In a complaint filed July 19, the Nevada Democratic Party asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to investigate whether the nonprofit organization must report the contributions it received to fund mailers attacking state Senate candidate Kelvin Atkinson, a Democratic assemblyman from North Las Vegas.
Two federal lawsuits challenging the way Nevada manages its voting processes were filed on the eve of the state’s primary. Civil rights groups claim the state violates the National Voter Registration Act by not helping low-income voters register to participate. In the second complaint, voters challenged Nevada’s unique rule allowing for a “none-of-the-above” vote. Nevada reported a turnout of about 20 percent of registered voters for its Tuesday primary. In the first lawsuit, the National Council of La Raza and Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks branches of the NAACP claim Secretary of State Ross Miller and the state’s director of Health and Human Services fail to offer voting assistance at public assistance offices, as required by the National Voter Registration Act.
Nevada lawmakers have allocated up to $540,000 for the upcoming special election for the 2nd U.S. House District.
The Las Vegas Sun reported last week that the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved reimbursing counties for their election costs. Lawmakers complained about drawing funds from a bank account that’s supposed to meet expenses until 2013.
The state, not the counties, will pay the $539,137 cost of the Sept. 13 special congressional election spawned by disgraced John Ensign’s decision last spring to quit the U.S. Senate. After bickering about the cost Wednesday, members of the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee agreed unanimously to take the money out of their contingency fund, rather than making counties pay for the election.
Secretary of State Ross Miller, the state’s chief election officer, said that the counties had no time to prepare for the special election and that forcing them to cover costs out of their current budgets would pose a hardship. Counties typically pay their own election costs. The election would have cost Clark County about $33,000, according to a June estimate by the elections department.
The Board of Examiners today approved a request for more than half a million dollars from a legislative contingency fund to pay the counties for the cost of the Sept. 13 special election in the 2nd Congressional District. The board, made up of Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved the $539,000 request, which will be considered Aug. 31 by the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee.
Miller said the other options to pay for the election were to pass the costs on to the counties or to use a dwindling pool of federal funds, but that the request from the contingency fund is the best choice. Requiring cash-strapped counties to pay the costs could lead to cutting corners, and Miller said it is important to ensure the integrity of the election. Miller said his office made every effort to reduce the expenditures to reasonable levels. Initial estimates put the cost at in excess of $1 million.
A board chaired by the governor voted unanimously Monday to ask the Legislature to cover the $539,137 cost of the special election on Sept. 13 to fill a vacancy in Congress.
Instead of requiring counties to cover election costs, the state Board of Examiners wants the Legislature to reimburse counties out of its $12 million interim contingency fund. The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee will consider the proposal on Aug. 31.
Nevada: Secretary of State Issues Emergency Regulation to Fund Special Election | Nevada News Bureau
The state’s chief election official says special measures are needed to ensure proper administration in the upcoming special election.
An emergency regulation prepared by Secretary of State Ross Miller and enacted today will guide the reimbursement of costs incurred by the counties for the September 13 special election for Nevada’s second congressional district. The election is expected to cost Nevada’s 17 counties a total of nearly $1 million.
Nevada: Secretary Of State Rejects Requests For Mail Ballot Only Precincts For Special Election | Nevada News Bureau
Secretary of State Ross Miller has denied requests from Esmeralda and Nye counties to expand the number of mail ballot only precincts in their counties for the special election to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat set for Sept. 13.
While both counties claimed they would realize modest cost savings by designating more mail ballot only precincts, Miller said his overriding concern is the integrity of the election process.
“This election is already on a greatly expedited timeline,” Miller said. “My first and foremost objective is to conduct an error-free election and I’m concerned that unknown challenges are likely to arise in implementing a new and different process in such short order.”
The Nevada Supreme Court has determined the two major political parties can choose one candidate each to run for the state’s open Congressional District 2 seat, putting an end to Secretary of State Ross Miller’s vision of a “ballot royale.”
There will be only eight candidates — not 30 — on the ballot when U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s replacement is chosen in a special election Sept. 13. Republican Mark Amodei and Democrat State Treasurer Kate Marshall will top the ballot along with candidates from the Independent American and Libertarian parties and four independents. The decision is important more for political reasons than legal concerns.