Election Law Bill Dies

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A major election-law bill that finally
made it through the Nevada Senate died as the Assembly adjourned
its 2009 session a few minutes before midnight Monday.

AB82, sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller, went through
major revisions Monday in the Senate Legislative Operations and
Elections Committee and then was sent on a 16-5 Senate vote to the
Assembly for final action - that was never taken prior to
adjournment.

"We're disappointed, of course," Miller's elections chief,
Matt Griffin, said Tuesday. "There were a lot of things in the
bill that would have helped to address problems from the 2008
election, and administrative changes that would have helped the
county clerks."

"But you have to keep trying," Griffin said, adding that the
secretary of state's office will try to determine what improvements
can be made even though AB82 didn't pass. He also said a big
elections change approved by lawmakers, in a separate bill, will
advance the state's primary elections from mid-August to the second
Tuesday in June in even-numbered years.

During Senate discussions Monday on AB82, critics included Sen.
Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, who said the bill contained penalty
provisions for election-law violations that were "way out of
line." Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, complained about getting a
lengthy, 80-page amendment to the bill on the last day of the
session.

The proposal included felony penalties for offenses such as
intimidating voters and interfering in the conduct of an election.
It also proposed to streamline the election process, in part by
creating an electronic voter database to give people the option of
registering to vote online.

Miller also had said the bill would combat election fraud,
citing alleged election fraud abuses involving political advocacy
group ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform.

Other parts of the bill mandated electronic filing of campaign
contribution and expense reports starting in 2011.

While there were concerns about some of the reporting
requirements, Griffin said the bill didn't require contributors to
expend any money or file any reports for giving money to candidates
because the candidates already must report them.

Griffin also said the bill sought to improve rules for
registration drives in part because some of the voter registration
work in 2008 was done by ex-cons who had done time for identity
theft.

Under the plan, voter registration groups couldn't "knowingly"
employ anyone with a felony record for "theft, fraud or
dishonesty" to register voters.

The measure also included a section that would have enabled any
incumbents facing election challenges from someone with the same
name to list the word "incumbent" next to their names on ballots.


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