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Removal of polling device from reservation questioned

CARSON CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada has questioned the removal of the only polling machine on the Washoe Tribe’s Dresslerville Reservation in Douglas County, but an election official said the removal was justified because of a low number of voters.

The ACLU’s Lee Rowland questioned Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer Ted Thran about the decision, saying it could inhibit voting access and possibly violate the Voting Rights Act.

Thran said Friday that fewer than 200 people voted at the location in the 2006 elections, and state law allows for removal of polling devices under those circumstances. He added that the district attorney’s office is dealing with the issue, and he expects that the decision will be supported by the secretary of state.

Rowland also questioned plans to have armed, uniformed sheriff’s deputies at each polling place in the county, but Thran said that’s a practice allowed by state law and in use for years. He added that Douglas County isn’t alone in having officers at the sites.

While Rowland said the presence of the officers “may have the unintended effect of suppressing voter turnout,” Thran said the officers keep a low profile.

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