By Michelle L. Price
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A new voter rights program spearheaded by Democrat Stacey Abrams plans to put a voter protection team and phone hotline in Nevada ahead of the 2020 election, the Georgia politician said Wednesday.
Abrams, who championed voter rights during her unsuccessful 2018 run for Georgia governor, announced this week she’s a launching multistate voter protection program in 20 states considered battlegrounds.
Nevada, where Abrams made the announcement, is one of those 20 states “that decide the direction of our nation,” she said Wednesday while meeting with Nevada Democrats and progressive activists in Las Vegas.
Abrams said her Fair Fight voting organization is not opening a chapter in Nevada but will instead partner with the state Democratic Party to fund and staff voter a voter protection team. After announcing the national effort in Las Vegas on Tuesday, she met Wednesday with Nevada Democrats and local progressive activists to discuss it.
Abrams, former minority leader of the Georgia House, and Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson told the Associated Press in a joint interview afterward that the voter protection team will include at least four staffers, including a full-time director who will study Nevada’s election laws and work to spread awareness about voter rights ahead of the November 2020 election.
The effort will also include a local hotline to help voters if they experience trouble or confusion at the polls.
“When people have a problem, they need immediate answers but they also need people who are on the ground who know exactly what’s happening in that neighborhood or in that state,” Abrams said.
She said that even though the effort is housed within the Democratic Party, the hotline would be available to help Republican voters as well.
“We want people to vote. At the fundamental level, this is about democracy being preserved,” she said.
Abrams and Frierson said they want to be prepared for any potential voter suppression or misinformation next year. Neither cited widespread concerns about voter access in Nevada in recent elections, though Frierson said there have been instances in the past where misinformation was released accidently and sometimes intentionally about when and where people could vote.
He said Democratically-controlled state Legislature has taken steps to try to expand voting, including passing laws this year to allow same-day voter registration and restoring voting rights for felons when they’re released from prison.
Nevada Republican Party spokesman Keith Schipper questioned the need for the effort.
“We just had historic turnout in a midterm,” he said. “Who was suppressed?”