Threats to elections workers now a felony in Nevada

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 5:24 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A rare bi-partisan bill received the signatures of both Nevada Republican Governor Joe Lombardo and Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar today with election workers breathing a sigh of relief.

Senate Bill 406 makes it a felony to harass or threaten or dox an election worker. It was a campaign promise made by Aguilar and is now reality for those who conduct elections across Nevada.

“This was a priority you know given the vacancy rate,” Secretary Aguilar said after signing the bill. “The fact that we have ten out of 17 new clerks in our counties; we need to ensure they understand that they are going to be protected on the job they have. And we also need to recruit new workers to the sector. And in order to do that people want to come to work in a place that is safe.”

Aguilar says he heard about the threats and harassment while campaigning across the state. He said Nevada law protected voters, but not election workers. SB 406 gives parity says Aguilar.

Aguilar says recently his staff had to testify in federal court against someone who consistently harassed them.

“To have to go through that trauma in real time and then have to sit on the stand and do it again. It is painful,” said Aguilar.

Now he says the law is clear and people will be held accountable.

The Secretary says he wants current and potential poll workers paid or volunteer to know “we have your back.”

Stories from election workers throughout the state inspired the campaign promise and push to get SB 406 passed and signed into law. But Aguilar says it wasn’t just people in leadership positions, but individuals checking people in at the polls and making sure the law is followed who were also impacted by threats. Aguilar says those behind the scenes were not immune from harassment.

After SB 406 was signed into law, election workers from state to county offices came up to get their picture taken with the Nevada Secretary of State and Governor Lombardo for what they feel is an historic day.

“Election workers, you are heroes,” said Aguilar.

SB 406 becomes law July 1, 2023.