RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - More than 121 thousand people in Washoe County cast ballots in early 2018 general election voting. This year, the US Department of Justice is getting involved in Nevada, sending observers to Washoe and Clark counties.
The two observers will be making sure the state is complying with the law, and if there are any issues, that those can be fixed as quickly as possible, making it easier for voters during election day.
“There’s been no reported incidents of voter fraud at this time in Washoe,” says Deanna Spikula from Washoe Registrar of Voters.
The Department of Justice also observed Washoe and Clark in 2016.
“An observer is an observer, whether they be at state or federal level, it’s the same process and rules that apply, so why someone from federal level would want to come and observe, you would have to ask them and their department to answer that,” says Spikula.
Our query to DOJ was answered with this:
"The Civil Rights Division is responsible for enforcement of the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights Acts. The Division monitors elections to help determine compliance with these voting rights statutes. Even though the Division does not publicly announce monitoring except in connection with federal general elections, the Division is out in the field for all kinds of elections all over the country and all throughout each year, not just federal general elections. In determining where to monitor, the Division considers a number of factors, including information provided by state/local election officials and communities, and information gathered as part of the Division’s ongoing compliance reviews. The Division is also continuing its outreach to jurisdictions that are required to provide bilingual election materials and assistance at the polls, pursuant to the Voting Rights Act."
The two observers will be wearing name tags and will be present at two locations, one at Pyramid Lake Tribal Office in Nixon and the Natchez Elementary School in Wadsworth. The goal is to make sure the election is functioning correctly, and the state is complying with state and federal laws.
“We are actually glad to have them out there, 'cause they almost always they tell us that we are doing a great job and that our poll workers are doing the right things out there,” says Spikula.
Poll workers are trained so they know how to handle observers when they come. Observers are there to observe only. They are not there to question or interrogate anyone in any way.
On Tuesday, polls will be open from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. and you can head to any polling location in Washoe County to cast your ballot.