Editorial: Passage of Question 5 will do more harm than good

Question 5 — the Automatic Voter Registration Initiative — on the November ballot is a pointless and costly endeavor likely to do more harm than good.

The proposal would require the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to automatically send personal information to the registrar of voters so a person can be registered to vote when receiving a driver’s license or making a license change, unless the person affirmatively declines in writing.

It is pointless because the DMV already sends information to the registrar of voters if a person agrees. All Question 5 does is change the system from an “opt in” to an “opt out.” It is a distinction without a discernible difference.

The backers of the initiative argue this will make it more convenient to exercise the right to vote and even save money.

“Voting is a fundamental right,” the argument for passage reads. “It is our most important way to guarantee our rights and freedoms — and it’s a responsibility to be taken seriously by both the people and the government. Yet our outdated voter registration process makes it unnecessarily difficult for eligible Nevada citizens to have their voices heard and leaves our registration system vulnerable to errors. … It will reduce the risk of fraud and lower costs.”

In fact, Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed the initiative during the 2017 legislative session, saying, “it extinguishes a fundamental, individual choice — the right of eligible voters to decide for themselves whether they desire to apply to register to vote — forfeiting this basic decision to state government. … the core freedom of deciding whether one wishes to initiate voter registration belongs to the individual, not the government.”

His veto message also said the change “would create an unnecessary risk that people who are not qualified voters may unintentionally apply to vote, subjecting them to possible criminal prosecution, fines, and other legal action.”

As for lowering cost, the fiscal note for Question 5 says it would cost $221,000 to implement and more than $50,000 annually to maintain.

As for reducing errors, the California DMV, which has a similar automatic voter registration system, recently reported it sent 23,000 erroneous voter registrations.

The argument against passage of Question 5 points out, “The proposed ‘Opt Out’ system shifts the responsibility of registering to vote from the individual to the government. Nevada residents who do not want to be registered will have to affirmatively ‘Opt Out’ or have their names and addresses automatically added to voter rolls and become public information.”

It also notes there is no evidence this change would increase voter turnout.

There is no evidence this measure will accomplish anything other than increased opportunities for errors. We shouldn’t try to drag motorists kicking and screaming into the voting booth.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

27 comments on “Editorial: Passage of Question 5 will do more harm than good

  1. Sure would be nice if someone, hint hint, would come out with a, short and sweet, vote yes or no recommendation list on ALL the mostly confusing ballot measures

  2. Reziac says:

    This law is precisely why California has so many illegal aliens who are registered to vote — because the DMV bends the rules for Spanish-speakers to let them get a driver’s license without having a birth certificate, and of course they’re registered to vote by the Helpful Desk Person on the spot.

    If you too want to encourage non-citizens to control your government, by all means vote for a similar measure.

  3. Rincon says:

    So what is the present situation? You say, “It is pointless because the DMV already sends information to the registrar of voters if a person agrees.” Agrees or requests? There can be no opt in or out if the driver is asked to choose one at the point of service – except for the occasional moron who refuses to decide. This makes me tend to presume that at present, the DMV helps only if the driver thinks of it and asks. Is that the case? If so, then why not just have the DMV ask drivers and forget about opting in or out? This is how organ donations are handled in Illinois. We just sign the blank on the back of our license (or not). Easy, eminently practical, and cheap.

    For some reason, your link for the fiscal note goes to a page regarding question 3. There’s no mention of question 5. Nevertheless, $50,000 per year divided by the 3 million people of Nevada comes to about 1.6 cents per year per citizen. And you’re worried about the cost? Even so, I suspect the cost of signing someone up would be borne elsewhere if not done through the DMV. Failing to take all costs into account, including the time of the citizens, would be disingenuous.

  4. Indy says: “What this amounts to is a slight change on the forms for a new driver’s license. Current forms direct ID applicants to fill out an optional page at the back of the form if they wish to register to vote. The new form would include a new checkbox asking applicants if they do not want to register, but still includes the same voter registration form as before.”

    fixed the link

  5. Anonymous says:

    Same old effort by the right to have fewer people vote.

    Why is the right so afraid of the American public?

  6. Steve says:

    “Opt out” has been a bane of denigration to infosec for decades. Forcing people to opt out is a sneaky way to build big databases full of private information. These companies sell that info for their own gain.
    As this applies to government, everything should be “Opt in” nothing should be “opt out” because choosing to opt in means the person doing so has taken at least a minimum of effort to understand what they are choosing to become a part or member and understands the responsibilities and requirements accompanying the choice to join.

    Joining people without their express permission ensures we get a lot of people but not a lot of participation.

    Opt out is not the preferred method of anyone in the IT/IS world and this is so for real reasons. Opt out should not be used by government in any way, shape or form.

  7. Athos says:

    Anny Mouse said “Why is the right so afraid of the American public?” Simple answer- We want ONLY American citizens over the age of 18 (and still living) to vote. No one else

  8. Anonymous says:

    Atholes said:

    “We want ONLY American citizens over the age of 18 (and still living) to vote. No one else.”

    Which has absolutely zero to do with whether people with drivers licenses in Nevada get registered to vote or not.

    It’s all about the farthest of the far right wanting Americans not to vote because they know that the more people who vote, the less likely the right is to have any power in this country.

    Cause I mean seriously; how many people could want a country where the few have everything and the rest have nothing?

  9. Athos says:

    So, anny, you’re asserting that only American citizens living in Nevada have drivers’ licenses?

    And “the rest have nothing” comment is absurd.

  10. Anonymous says:

    No you implied that someone other than American citizens are voting. Which of course is baseless.

    And it all goes back to members of the farthest of the far right wing simply wanting to deny American citizens the opportunity to vote. Things like, voter ID, closing polling places where democratic voters are more likely to vote, preventing other measures like colleges from registering students to vote it’s all for the purpose of denying American citizens the opportunity vote because, as we all know, the more people that vote,the less republicans and the far right are going to get those votes.

  11. Athos says:

    You weren’t there to witness the busloads of maids, public area workers and kitchen personnel that were taken to vote in the 2016 election, while on the clock and in uniform, during their lunch hour.

    Multiple casinos were involved but I personally witnessed MGM properties doing this. And what possible reason would Jim (and Heather) Murren have for getting out the vote for the Dems?

    Voter ID is not a ploy to deny anyone the right to vote. It actually guarantees ALL SIDES that the election is on the “up and up”. I’ve found no credible argument how this disenfranchises anyone.

  12. Rincon says:

    I have no objection to requirements for voter ID, however, the polling place should be able to accept many forms of ID, just as a bank might when you open an account.

    So what’s wrong with busloads of maids, etc. showing up to vote? Do you think it should be illegal to give someone a ride to a polling place?

    It might be better if the most ignorant among us didn’t vote, but there should be no interference with anyone’s right to vote.

    As I said, there should be no opt in or out. Simply make them answer yes or no. No answer, no license.

  13. HighflyinBrien says:

    One need only look at who is behind this measure to understand this ploy…an organization known as IVote. It’s president is Ellen Kurz who served as President Barack Obama’s National Field Director for his re-election campaign of 2012. Their stated goal: “iVote focuses on two vehicles to go on offense for voting rights: Electing Democratic voting rights champions as secretary of state and passing automatic voter registration in states across the country.” Most of the states who’ve implemented this are deep blue. They are attacking Nevada’s current Secretary of State Barbara Cegavski for attempting to update and correct current voter rolls. (Removing names of deceased citizens, those who no longer live in Nevada, etc.) IVote and the Democrats behind it claim that this is blatant attempt to “disenfranchise” minority voters…sound familiar? IVote has spent over $371,000 to push this initiative and one of their poster boys is Rep. John Lewis. There has been no money raised to rebut it…that’s why you only see the IVote based commercials on TV.

  14. HighflyinBrien says:

    The purported name of the group behind this initiative is the “Nevada Election Administrative Committee”…they have one donor, “IVote” who has donated $371,400 to push this measure in Nevada. There is no opposition thus far. Carpetbaggers are behind at least three of the four proposed initiatives.

  15. HighflyinBrien says:

    Whoops…make that six initiatives, my bad!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yep, republican sure don’t want blacks to vote in numbers. Heck, they don’t want anyone to vote in numbers. And they’ll do whatever it takes to stop them.

    “That deadline to register to vote didn’t pass without controversy. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that about 53,000 registration applications were being held by the Georgia secretary of state because they were flagged by the state’s “exact match” system. That system, introduced by the state’s legislature last year, mandates a stricter process for validating registrations as part of an effort to curtail illegal voting. Illegal or fraudulent voting, it’s important to reiterate, is not by any measure a significant problem in the United States.

    How strict are the new rules? If someone with the hyphenated last name of Jones-Smith were to register to vote but excluded the hyphen, they might be shunted to that “pending” registration list. It’s a process that has been shown to have an outsized effect on black, Hispanic and Asian voters in the state. Of the 53,000 applications being held by the secretary of state, 70 percent are for black voters.”


    Sure don’t want anyone without a hyphen voting.

    These people man.

  17. Steve says:

    And I suppose Kanye West is now dubbed “Uncle Kanye” in nonymus’s little world.

  18. Athos says:

    anymouse is a condescending bigot who believes Blacks are incapable of figuring out how to vote.

    You are either a despicable bigot, or an elitist snob.

    But then I forget, you’re a leftist, Democrat sycophant.

    Say hello to the Nazi sympathizer, Soros, for me, will ya?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Atholes “sees” that republicans are taking actions that result in fewer blacks voting and says “you are a racist for acknowledging what is happening”.

    The far far right is kooky scary.

  20. Athos says:

    Hypocrite! Are you saying black people aren’t capable of getting IDs just like white people?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why do you figure Atholes is happy that a state does everything it can to prevent a certain group from voting?

    Poll taxes? Recite the Bible please? Close polling places in…ahem “certain neighborhoods”?

    All this pretend defense of liberty and this.

  22. Athos says:

    Condescending? Check. Racist? Check. Elitist? Check. Bigot? Check.

    Anny, you are the poster child for Leftist Democrats, (which, unfortunately, is becoming synonymous for all Democrats).

  23. Anonymous says:

    ““This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner. “.

    “I love my uneducated voters”

    “Mexicans are rapists”

    “I like to grab ’em by the p@ssy”

    Which leftist said these things again? I’m making up my poster don’t you know.

  24. Athos says:

    And still you can’t hide the fact that you (with the true fervor of the Democrat Party) feel Blacks are incapable of getting a valid ID so they can vote.

    Who’s the racist, now, anny?

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