GOP Nevada Gov. Lombardo Tries to 'Get S*** Done' With Election Reforms Over Democrat Resistance

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo. Credit: State of Nevada government website

After giving the State of the State address in January, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo (R) famously responded to a reporter, who asked him what he was looking forward to in his term, by saying, “getting s*** done.” Gov. Lombardo has consistently laid out his priorities for the Silver State, many of which are represented in five legislative packages, including school choice and funding, school safety,  and public safety. Two bills have not yet received a hearing, on crime and election reforms. 


During his speech, Gov. Lombardo also claimed that universal mail ballots are “unnecessary and inefficient” costing the state $7 million in the upcoming budget. He suggested that changing the deadline for receiving ballots would align Nevada with national standards and prevent the reporting of election results from dragging on for days.

In April, Gov. Lombardo introduced election reform legislation, SB 405, which aims to implement several changes. It would reverse universal mail ballot legislation AB 321, passed in 2021, by allowing voters to opt-in to request a mail ballot, instead of automating going to every voter listed as active in the state. The bill also sets requirements to show a photo ID to vote, and use identification verification on mail ballots to match social security or driver’s license numbers. Mail ballots would be counted if they are received by the end of business on Election Day. The bill also would put a 30-ballot limit on unauthorized ballot harvesting (made legal in Nevada in 2021), and require harvesters to submit affidavits and reports to the Secretary of State’s office.

While Lombardo is focused on getting s*** done before the end of the legislative session on June 5, Nevada Democrats have resisted, calling for ‘No compromise.’ On Wednesday, Nevada’s top Democrat brass held a press event outside the statehouse, decrying the proposals of the Governor and laying out their own priorities. Speaker of the Assembly Steve Yeager (D) said there will be “no room to compromise” on mail balloting and voter ID, criminal justice, healthcare, and education issues.


Yeager said of the election legislation,

It’s simply a solution in search of a problem.

Discussion of how to allocate a surplus in the state budget of $251 million, based on recent projections, continues to be held between the Administration and the legislators. Lombardo’s Chief of Staff Ben Kieckhefer said a balanced budget is the top priority, and that the Governor’s proposed budget puts the state on the path to “success long term.” Kieckhefer said,

The single most important thing that we need walking out of this legislative session is a responsible and balanced budget that is sustainable and puts our state on a trajectory for success long term, not just for the operations of state but for the people of our state. I think the governor has proposed that and if zero policy bills pass, from either party, and we pass a budget that does that, we think it’d be a good outcome.”

Gov. Lombardo called the Democrats’ plan of social program spending “not sustainable” and an example of “feel-good politics” — especially with the looming threat of a recession. He stressed that surplus funds are a one-time investment and should not be used for ongoing expenses.

Lombardo said,

Why not take away that amount and manage government slowly, versus by knee-jerk reaction?

The Governor remains steadfast about achieving a hearing for his election bill, as end-of-session negotiations remain underway. In response to Speaker Yeager’s assertion that the election initiatives would not receive a hearing, Lombardo said,


He may have said that today, but what do we have, 30-something days left in the legislative session? So, I anticipate we’ll have some further conversations.

If the Democrats fail to pass a budget that satisfies the Governor by June 5th, they could face a special session, as they are currently one vote shy of a veto-proof super-majority.


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