Secretary Miller Issues Opinion that Nevada Law Mandates
Polls Remain Open on Nevada Day
(Carson City, NV; September 17, 2008) – Counties that do not open voting locations on the October 31, 2008 Nevada Day holiday will be in violation of Nevada Revised Statute 293.3568 according to Secretary of State Ross Miller. In a letter and accompanying Secretary of State’s Interpretation sent to the commissioners in eight Nevada counties, Miller pointed out that October 31st is the last day of early voting and traditionally experiences the highest turnout of any of the early voting days. The eight counties are Churchill, Esmerelda, Eureka, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, and Pershing.
“In interpreting the applicable statutes pertaining to early voting, I believe Nevada law mandates that permanent polling locations remain open on Nevada Day, despite the fact it is a state holiday,” said Miller. “From both a legal and a policy standpoint, keeping the polls open is the appropriate decision. Ultimately, the priority should be voter accessibility to the polls.”
The letter and interpretation sent today follow a memorandum that was sent to county registrars in the eight counties on September 15, 2008. The memo addressed the concerns of some counties regarding the added expense of keeping the polls open on a holiday. “I can understand their concern,” said Miller. “But we immediately addressed that issue by making available to the counties funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)to cover the added expense. The HAVA funds are provided to increase accessibility to the polls, so money should not be an issue for any of the counties. Beyond that, I don’t know of any good reason to not allow people to vote.
“I’d like to believe that every county commissioner and registrar, knowing the importance of this election and the expected turnout, will work with us to resolve this quickly and get the polls opened.”