A new robocall from the Nevada Republican Party is stirring up controversy.
The call says that Nevadans will be able to vote in-person or by mail. It then touts President Donald Trump's commitment to supporting police officers and bringing back the economy "stronger than ever before."
It then goes on to say either 'send' your ballot or 'defend' your ballot - and make sure it counts by voting in person. It then encourages people to visit the state GOP website for voting information.
Sondra Cosgrove is the president of the League of Women Voters and a history professor at the College of Southern Nevada.
After listening to the call on KNPR's State of Nevada, she described the 'send' or 'defend' line as "garbled." Instead of going to either of the major parties' websites for election information, Cosgrove says it is important to find non-partisan information.
"When I look at election processes that should be non-partisan," she said, "If people are interested in wanting to know what the processes are and how security is going to be handled either go to the Secretary of State website or the Clark County Election Department website. That's where you find accurate information."
Former State Senator Warren Hardy, who is a registered Republican, is not surprised by the rhetoric in the robocall.
"Because it kind of feeds into the narrative in this presidential election," he said, "One of the things that President Trump has decided to do is feed into this narrative that potentially he's going to be robbed."
Jon Ralston, publisher of the Nevada Independent and longtime political reporter, had stronger words for the robocall.
"Let's not sugar coat any of this... Donald Trump, his campaign and the Republican Party in Nevada are trying to undermine faith in the integrity of the results," he said, "That is so pernicious, so insidious and it's clear that's what they're doing."
In addition to the robocall, Ralston said the party has sent out mailers that indicated to voters that they are not registered when they are, or that they don't live at the address to which the flier was sent.
Ralston said his view is not partisan but based on an objective look at what is going on. He is outraged by the campaign's actions and he's outraged that more Republicans aren't speaking out about it.
Hardy, who is a Republican, agreed that President Trump's tactic is undermining the election, although, he's not sure that is the intent.
"He figures out what his base is saying and thinking and then he feeds into that to get that base to gel around his presidency," Hardy said, "I totally agree with Jon in terms of what the consequences and what the reality of it is in terms of undermining the election."
Hardy doesn't believe the president cares about the consequences of his actions. Instead, he believes, President Trump cares about re-election and absolute loyalty.
The former state senator and current lobbyist said he signed up for the Ronald Reagan-brand of conservatism and that is not what President Trump is pedaling.
"The Reagan revolution was about a big tent to bring everybody in to have a place at the table in the Republican Party for every point of view," he said, "Donald Trump's Republican Party only has a place for people who are loyal to Donald Trump."
Hardy said that might lead to the president's re-election because he's been able to appeal to a larger base, that the former lawmaker dubs "the blue-collar base," but a base and party devoted just to Donald Trump might hurt Republicans down the ticket.
Overall, Hardy is surprised that neither side -- Republican nor Democrat - have tried to reach out to moderate voters. He said, generally, candidates pander to their bases to get the nomination and then move into the middle for the general election, but, he said, that hasn't happened during this election cycle.
When it comes down to Election Day, Ralston believes Nevada is a "lean blue state." He noted that if the election year had gone like normal the Silver State would have been a "lock" for Democrat Joe Biden.
But like everything else, the pandemic threw a wrench into the normal operations of the Democratic political machine in Nevada.
A new poll by ALG Research shows Biden ahead by four points, but Ralston said the uncertainty of the times also casts doubt on those numbers.
"I've talked to pollsters about this and people who understand elections, a poll is only as good as the model of the electorate is accurate of who is going to vote and it is very difficult to tell what the electorate is going to look like because of the certainty about mail balloting and early voting and who is going to turn out this time," Ralston said.
He said some pundits have put the state into the 'likely blue' category, but he wouldn't go that far because of the uncertainty of this election.
Cosgrove believes it is up to all voters to address that uncertainty with their own efforts to learn more.
"What we're asking is, especially right now under pandemic conditions when it's hard to have a face-to-face conversation with anyone, to plug into any organizations that you trust that are doing Zoom meetings," she said, " See if you can talk to them on the phone. Just because we're under pandemic conditions doesn't mean you should just throw up your hands say, 'I'm not going to vote,'" but it might take a little bit of effort to get all the variables downloaded for each candidate and then do the equation on whether that's a 'yes' vote or not."
As for the rest of the races, both Hardy and Ralston believe the congressional incumbents, Dina Titus, Steven Horsford, and Susie Lee, will all likely win re-election.
According to Joe Gloria, the registrar of voters in Clark County, sample ballots will be in the mail Sept. 27 and all mail-in ballots will be in the mail October 7. You do NOT have to request a mail-in ballot. They will be sent to every registered voter.
You can vote by mail using the pre-paid postage on the mail-in ballot. You can also vote in-person during early voting or on Election Day - at any polling site in the county. You can also drop off your mail-in ballot at early voting sites or at a polling place on Election Day.
Jon Ralston, publisher, Nevada Independent; Warren Hardy, lobbyist and former GOP state senator; Sondra Cosgrove, history professor, College of Southern Nevada and president, League of Women Voters of Nevada
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