© 2024 KUNR
Illustration of rolling hills with occasional trees and a radio tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Nevada Democratic Secretary of State proposes legislation to protect election workers and streamline election processes

Cisco Aguilar is indoors sitting at a table. He’s wearing a navy blue suit and smiling for a photo. There is a black microphone on the table facing him. The room is brightly lit from a window behind Cisco.
Lucia Starbuck
/
KUNR Public Radio
Nevada Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar in Carson City, Nev., on March 6, 2023.

Purple Politics Nevada is KUNR’s weekly show about the Nevada Legislative Session. In this week’s episode, host Lucia Starbuck explores Nevada Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar’s legislation to protect election workers and streamline election processes. He also responded to Republican-backed election-related bills.

Click here for a transcript of the audio story.


Episode Overview

The Secretary of State has proposed a bill that would require the office to create, maintain and publish an election procedure manual and provide training every two years for county and city clerks. More than half of the state’s top county election officials have left since 2020.

“What we’re trying to do is build a standard across the entire state for how elections are run. Right now we’re experiencing a transition in talent across elections. This is really to help those new individuals coming into the positions,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar said he has several bills aimed at supporting and retaining election workers. One bill would allow state election officials to make their personal information confidential in an effort to prevent doxxing, which is a form of online harassment when someone publishes identifying information, like an address or phone number, with malicious intent. Another bill in draft form would make it a felony to harass or intimidate election workers.

“Election workers go to work in fear. Nobody wants to go to a job where they’re scared or they feel as though they have the opportunity to be harassed or intimidated,” Aguilar said, “I need to let election workers know that I have their back and that they can go to work in a safe place.”

The Secretary of State’s office is also requesting $30 million from the state legislature to fast-track the implementation of a statewide election management system ahead of the 2024 election.

Aguilar also responded to Republican-backed election-related bills featured on last week’s episode ofPurple Politics Nevada, including one that would require voters to show identification to vote.

“This is where I become a constitutionalist,” Aguilar said. “The fundamental right to vote is so critical to us expressing our desires and our wishes for our future. Every Nevadan who is eligible to vote should have that opportunity. Voter ID creates a roadblock. I don’t think we understand what the unintended consequences are.”

Listen to this week’s episode of Purple Politics Nevada with Lucia Starbuck to hear more from Aguilar on how the state legislature can improve elections.


Transcript

(UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC BEGINS)

LUCIA STARBUCK, HOST: Welcome to Purple Politics Nevada. I’m your host, Lucia Starbuck. The name reflects the fact that Nevada isn’t red or blue — it’s both. This week, we’re exploring the Nevada Secretary of State’s proposed legislation to protect election workers. And if you missed last week’s episode, I spoke with two Republican lawmakers about their bills to require voter ID and move up voting deadlines. That episode can be found at KUNR.org or where you subscribe to the show.

(UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC ENDS)

STARBUCK: The Nevada Secretary of State’s office has been put into the spotlight, especially in recent elections. I’m here with Democratic Nevada Secretary of State, Cisco Aguilar. You want your office to create an election procedure manual. What would be in that and why is that needed?

CISCO AGUILAR: What we’re trying to do is build a standard across the entire state for how elections are run. And the more we can standardize it or put it in a manual, the easier it is for somebody to go walk into that job and know exactly what they need to do from day one. Right now we’re experiencing transition in talent across elections and this is really to help those new individuals coming into the positions.

STARBUCK: Another bill you’re proposing would make it a felony to harass or intimidate election workers.

AGUILAR: What we’re experiencing right now is election workers go to work in fear. Nobody wants to go to a job where they’re scared or they feel as though they have the opportunity to be harassed or intimidated. I need to let election workers know that I have their back and that they can go to work in a safe place. You know, 80% of election workers are women.

STARBUCK: Another bill would allow state election workers to have some of their personal information confidential.

AGUILAR: So what it allows is it takes that information out of the public realm.

STARBUCK: And what information exactly?

AGUILAR: So for example, when I was on chair of the Nevada Athletic Commission, we made a lot of hard decisions and all of my information was out there. Somebody gathered that information and sent out a tweet to thousands of people throughout the country. I immediately started getting phone calls, text messages, people were calling the office where I worked and harassing the staff that were answering the phone. It’s to prevent those types of situation, we call them doxxing.

STARBUCK: And you’re also requesting, I think it was, $30 million for the top-down voter registration system for the state. Do you want to talk about that?

AGUILAR: Right now all 17 counties manage their voter registration process. And so the Secretary of State’s office receives 17 different processes, versions of voter registration. By having a top-down voter registration system, the Secretary of State's office will manage that database and will manage that information flow. Nevadans are a very transient population. One of the opportunities we have with a new system would allow us to take address changes from the postal service and automatically update our voter rolls.

(UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC BEGINS)

STARBUCK: I’m Lucia Starbuck and you are listening to Purple Politics Nevada. I’m with Democratic Secretary of State, Cisco Aguilar. We’ve been chatting about ways his office is looking to improve elections in the state. Let’s talk about Republican-backed election-related bills. One bill is about voter ID. What are your thoughts?

(UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC ENDS)

AGUILAR: This is where I become a constitutionalist. The fundamental right to vote is so critical to us expressing our desires and our wishes for our future. Every Nevadan who is eligible to vote should have that opportunity. Voter ID creates a roadblock. I don’t think we understand what the unintended consequences are. We have some of the most secure elections in the country.

STARBUCK: What could some of those unintended consequences be?

AGUILAR: One is our elderly community. It’s about access to an ID. People living in our rural communities that don’t have access to DMV services. It’s also to some of our tribal communities, right? Some of our tribal communities live in very remote, very rural areas, and for them to be able to access ID is a challenge.

STARBUCK: Some Republicans are looking to move up the deadline for returning a mail-in ballot. Would you support that?

AGUILAR: You know I think the conversation we need to have is about the capacity of our counties to process ballots and what support do we give to our counties to be able to process ballots. I know Nevadans, and I don’t want to sit and wait for elections to be called, being a candidate, it is extremely frustrating.

STARBUCK: And one more Republican-backed bill to move up the registration date, so that would end same-day registration. What are your thoughts on that?

AGUILAR: I think it’s important to understand that the Secretary of State’s office is responsible for implementing any law that’s passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. If they determine that’s a priority, we will absolutely ensure that the law is being followed.

STARBUCK: What are your personal thoughts on same-day registration?

AGUILAR: I think again, if we’re giving every eligible voter in Nevada access to the polls, let’s continue to move forward.

(UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC BEGINS)

STARBUCK: That was Democratic Secretary of State, Cisco Aguilar. Next week, we’re going to give listeners a behind-the-scenes look into our political reporting. I’m moderating a conversation with my KUNR colleagues about the legislation we’re following and why it matters. Join us at IMBĪB Custom Brews in Reno on Wednesday, March 15, from six to eight pm. RSVP on Eventbrite by searching the name, “Pints and Purple Politics.” I’m Lucia Starbuck, and you’ve been listening to Purple Politics Nevada.

(UPBEAT JAZZ MUSIC ENDS)

The theme song, “Vibe Ace” by Kevin MacLeod, is licensed under Creative Commons and was edited for this episode.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show <i>Purple Politics Nevada</i>. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
Related Content

Purple Politics Nevada is produced by KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck. Vicki Adame is the show’s editor, and Crystal Willis is the digital editor. Zoe Malen designed the show’s logo.