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Breaking Down Nevada's Proposed 'Motor Voter' Question

Bree Zender

On the ballot this year, Nevada voters will see a question seeking to change the way many actually get registered to vote in the first place. KUNR's Paul Boger breaks it all down for us. 

At the moment, those who apply for a Nevada ID card at the Department of Motor Vehicles are asked if they would like to register to vote. But if Question 5 on next week's ballot is approved, the DMV would automatically register those who are eligible to vote, unless they choose to opt-out of the system.

Tod Story is the executive director for the ACLU of Nevada. He says the organization is urging voters to say 'yes' to the measure.

"To make sure that one....we can have more people get registered, make that process as simple as possible, and make it more efficient and secure," Story said.

Though there is no organized effort to defeat the question, the Nevada Secretary of State's Office says it's heard criticism that it may take away a person's choice to be on the rolls or not. There's concern after the implementation of California's similar DMV automatic voter registration, which accidentally registered folks who wouldn't normally be eligible to vote. Wayne Thorley, the deputy secretary of state for elections, says the office would design it in a way that would prevent that from happening.  

"Nobody wants ineligible people to be on the voter rolls. But we do want to make sure that people who are eligible to vote do get on the voter rolls," Thorley said.

The Secretary of State's office is taking a neutral position on the question, as it is a direct party involved with the question at hand because that's where people register to vote in the state; however, it also directly operate government elections. Thorley said proponents of the measure say a full electronic system will improve timeliness and accuracy of voter rolls.

"When people write on a paper voter registration form, it's not always legible," Thorley explained. "When there is a human entering data into a system off of a paper voter registration form, there could be data entry errors."

Bree Zender is a former host and reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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