ACLU of Nevada Said It’s Working to Ensure Voting Rights for Eligible Incarcerated People in State

By Kaylynn Chang

LAS VEGAS, NV — The ACLU of Nevada has collaborated with local governments across the state of Nevada to implement policies to ensure eligible voters detained in local jails have easier access to voting.

In compliance with the requirements of Nevada’s Assembly Bill 286, seven jails are now operating under this new policy, according to a recent ACLU statement in Rural Contacts.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Brittney Miller during the 2023 Nevada Legislative Session, AB 286 is designed to “mandate local jails to create voting processes for detainees,” because people who are merely detained for pre-trial or serving misdemeanor sentences “have not lost their constitutional right to vote.”

Sadmira Ramic, an ACLU attorney, argued, “AB286 was specifically designed to reduce the disenfranchisement of eligible voters in our jails during election years.”

However, some facilities in Nevada were not in compliance with the bill, and the ACLU has issued demand letters to these jails to follow AB286 direction.

Earlier this year, attorneys from the ACLU of Nevada said they presented a compliance review of the bill by Nevada jails to the Interim Legislative Operations Committee, setting a deadline for response to avoid legal action.

While several jails cooperated, Elko County did not respond, prompting a lawsuit from the ACLU.

Following the lawsuit, the ACLU said Elko County worked with the ACLU and reached a settlement this past week to ensure compliance with the necessary provisions. Additionally, Mineral, Washoe, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Carson City and Clark County jails have also aligned with the bill, said the ACLU in a statement.

ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah commented that “every Nevada voter deserves the right to have their voices heard, and people detained in our jails are no exception. Therefore, processes that allow for individuals to continue exercising their right to vote must be implemented.”

Attorney Ramic also revealed that at the time the bill went into effect, “no jails were compliant with the law and disenfranchisement was at risk to continue.” And, only through “collaboration between the ACLU of Nevada and the jail administrators and county clerks…most jails throughout the state now have policies that create access to the ballot box for eligible voters.”

Lawmaker Miller said she will “continue to work with remaining Nevada jails to ensure the right to vote is accessible to eligible voters no matter where they are.”

About The Author

Kaylynn Chang is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley looking to major in Legal Studies with a strong interest in criminal justice and judicial law. Having years of experence with journalism and leading a publication, she loves to look for the stories of her community, focusing on the hidden voices and intriguing tales of people. She hopes to attend law school in the future, but for now she is looking to gain experience and experiment with her path. A passionate creator, a cafe connoisseur, and a library enthusiast, Kaylynn is always looking for small adventures along with accomplishing big goals.

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