RENO, Nev. (KOLO) It is not unusual to see long lines at the DMV. There are many reasons people sit and wait. But registering to vote is not one of them.
People at the DMV will be asked, however, if they want to register to vote once they get to a cubicle.
Question 5, if approved, will change that routine only slightly. It asks:
“Shall Chapter 293 of the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended to establish a system that will automatically register an eligible person to vote, or update that person's existing Nevada voter registration information, at the time the person applies to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles for the issuance or renewal of any type of driver's license or identification card, or makes a request to change the address on such a license or identification card, unless the person affirmatively declines in writing?”
Instead of being asked if you want to register to vote, the clerk will ask you if you want to opt out of voter registration. It's a fine distinction.
But proponents say opting in--under Question 5-- means other mechanisms will be put in place.
“What this would do is every time you updated your address, or you needed to change your name on your state ID or driver's license, that information would automatically be updated on your voter information as well, unless you decline,” say Chelsey Wininger with Nevadan for a Secure Election.
Wininger says a change of address or last name is not a major issue at the DMV. But it can be a hassle if you vote.
If it is done frequently enough, like for those in the military who move often, or those living in rural counties, where county offices may be many miles away, there will be benefits from Question 5.
That's because when those changes are made at the DMV, they will automatically go to the local registrar of voters. That means you will get the correct ballot and voter location as they apply to that change without having to notify the registrar yourself.
Nevada lawmakers in both houses passed such legislation in the 2017 session. But Governor Sandoval vetoed the bill, saying the system could register residents who are not qualified.
However, registration forms clearly have boxes to check that the registrant is a U.S. Citizen and will be 18 years of age at the time of the election.
Those opposed to Question 5 say such a system is ripe for hacking and could compromise our state's election system. Because computer changes would need to be made, there may be funds required to state agencies to accommodate alterations to a voter's information. Some estimates show counties would have to come up with $90,000 collectively for computer updates.
14 states have implemented a similar system at the DMVs. This initiative is based on what’s being done in Oregon.
If Question 5 is approved by voters in November it becomes law.