Native voters in Nevada, as a group, face unique barriers to registering and voting that most other Nevadans do not.
Voter services (registration offices, ballot drop boxes, early voting sites, and Election Day polling places) are often located outside of tribal lands. When there are no voter services available in their communities, Native voters living on Nevada’s more remote reservations or colonies have to make long, expensive journeys to register or cast their ballots. This means that far too many Native people in Nevada are effectively unable to vote at all.
The good news: Nevada has established a special process through which any Tribe may request a ballot drop box and/or Election Day polling site be placed within its reservation or colony. And once your Tribe’s ballot drop box or polling site is established, it will remain in place for future elections unless and until your Tribe agrees otherwise.
This page offers a brief overview of Nevada’s request process, but more information and help is available. If your Tribe is interested in requesting on-reservation voter services, please contact the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. All assistance NARF provides to your Tribe will be entirely free of charge.
How does Nevada’s Tribal request process work?
Your tribe must complete Nevada’s form, available here. (Note that this form has not yet been updated to reflect the recent change in Nevada law which provides that a Tribe may request a ballot drop box instead of or in addition to polling site(s). If your Tribe would like a drop box, say so on the form anyway.)
At this stage, your Tribe should…
– Decide what type(s) of voter services would be most useful in your community. If you are unsure or believe that your Tribal members would benefit from more options, there’s no harm in requesting all three.
– Identify where you would like your polling place(s) and/or drop box to be located. Federal, state, and county laws all set special requirements that a building must meet in order to serve as a polling location. Your Tribe very likely has a site (or several) that satisfies these requirements.
– Consider enacting a formal Tribal resolution to accompany your request. This resolution might include a statement of your Tribe’s need for and right to accessible voter services, a reminder of applicable Nevada law, and a brief explanation of your Tribe’s choice of site(s).
Your Tribe must submit the completed Request Form and any related materials to your County Clerk by the applicable deadline. Contact information for the appropriate official each county is provided on the second page of the Request Form linked above.
The deadline for a Nevada Tribe to request on-reservation voter services for the upcoming primary election is March 1, 2022. Your county clerk must receive your Tribe’s completed form by this date.
The deadline for a Nevada Tribe to request on-reservation voter services for the upcoming general election is August 1, 2022. Your county clerk must receive your Tribe’s completed form by this date.
When you submit the request to your county clerk, you should consider copying the Nevada Secretary of State’s office as well. This will notify relevant state officials of your request and can help ensure it is fully and timely fulfilled.
What happens after my Tribe submits our request?
Your county clerk will contact your Chair and/or Tribal Council by the week of March 2 (for the primary election) or August 2 (for the general election).
After the county clerk’s office reaches out to your Tribal Chair/Council, they will work with your tribe to set up your requested polling location and/or drop box.
If you have not heard from your county clerk by these dates or encounter any other difficulties after submitting your request, please reach out to NARF (email@example.com), All Voting is Local (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nevada Indian Commission (email@example.com), or the Nevada Secretary of State’s office (NVElect@sos.nv.org), or visit the Nevada Secretary of State Tribal Website here.