28 Apr Cisco Aguilar
Secretary of State
Campaign Contact Phone: 702-970-4400
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
I’m running for Secretary of State because of my passion for education. Now, this office might not seem like it has a direct connection to education, but it does. It also connects to making sure home can mean Nevada for future generations because we are addressing climate change. And to expand access to quality healthcare. And the thousands of other issues that Nevadans care about. Why? Because all of those issues are on the ballot every single election and, by protecting the fundamental right to vote for all eligible Nevadans, the Secretary of State ensures we have a say in the priorities we want our elected leaders to address and push our state closer to the outcomes we want to see.
With education as a passion and understanding how voting determines our educational priorities, I wanted to run for Secretary of State to ensure access to the polls remains a priority and all eligible Nevadans had the ability to vote in a way that works for them. Nevada is a 24 hour economy and its population spreads across vast miles of open land so the freedom to vote in the way that works for the voter is key to our state’s success. Nevada is a leader in the country for democracy with the pro-voter legislation passed in the last two legislative sessions and I am prepared to defend that progress we’ve made by the legislature and the Governor.
I have fought for underserved Nevada communities for the past two decades and believe it’s imperative that we care for our most vulnerable Nevadans. I’m committed to ensuring all eligible Nevadans have access to the ballot box and can conveniently participate in our democracy.
I have experience implementing large-scale projects, which the next Secretary of State will need to do, and as an attorney have the legal training to navigate the inevitable challenges that will come from being the state’s primary elections officer. I will not be intimidated by any group. I have served in various positions that require me to guide big organizations, including as a member--then Chair--of the Nevada Athletic Commission, and as the Founder and Chairman of Blueprint Sports, LLC, a sports technology company providing parity and equity in business opportunities for athletes.
If elected as Secretary of State, how would you work to improve the system in place to better administer elections and handle campaign funds in the future?
Nevada has some of the most tightly-run elections in the country, especially considering its vast geographical size and disparate population centers. Though there is always room for improvement, my focus is on protecting the fairness and freedom of our elections and making sure we do not roll back any of the progress made. The legislature and Governor have made significant progress expanding voting rights over the past two legislative sessions and I will protect that progress and implement the legislation they passed that is designed to make our elections more efficient.
If elected as Secretary of State, what commitment would you make to county clerk training and collaboration? This is given the turnover of county clerks over the past few years. How would you improve the SOS website?
County clerks and registrars and their staff are the backbone of elections in Nevada, and I would support them to the utmost extent, including by taking suggestions and recommendations on how best to serve their communities closely to heart. Because of the way elections are currently administered in the state, including county clerks, registrars, and their staff in implementation discussions is critical to the success of these projects. There input to new processes and ideas is critical to the success of Nevada elections.
The Secretary of State’s website is one of many places people can go to register to vote, update their registration, select a political party, etc. Potential voters should not feel intimidated when filling out a voter registration form, and that includes on the Secretary of State’s website. Additionally, the website contains a great deal of information voters might find useful– contributions and expenditure reports, election results, voter registration updates, etc. There are ways to streamline this and make it more easily navigable. Transparency is key.
What commitment would you make if elected to expand language accessibility for voters across Nevada?
I would gladly work closely with the state legislature on improving access to the ballot for Nevadans who require additional language assistance.
If elected, would your office provide funding for counties to provide language assistance at polling locations so that nonprofit organizations don’t have to be the ones undertaking this responsibility in service of Nevada voters?
I plan to work closely with the state legislature on any concerns around accessibility for voters.
Because of the rise of mis/disinformation stemming from the “Big Lie”, some voters feel like our elections are not secure despite the great elections/voting rights bills that were passed and signed into law. If elected as Secretary of State, what would you say to voters who are second-guessing the integrity of our elections?
It’s the job of the Secretary of State to ensure that elections are free and fair, whether or not they personally like the outcome. It’s my promise to Nevadans that I will do that job to the best of my ability, regardless of personal opinion.
Our democracy is at its best when everyone has the chance to participate, and I will always fight for Nevadans’ freedom to vote without discrimination and fear. All eligible voters, no matter where they live, the color of their skin, or the amount of money in their bank account, must be able to have their vote counted and their voice heard. Nevada has some of the best-run elections in the nation, and I want to keep it that way.
Hypothetical: A voter contacts you and indicates that they attempted to register to vote at the polls during Early Voting, but was turned away. The election worker states that they need to get a updated, current ID because they just moved to a new home in Las Vegas. What would you advise the voter to do?
If the voter made an in-state move to a new home in Las Vegas, they can update their registration and cast their ballot on the same day by showing their current ID and a valid proof of residency (utility bill, paycheck, etc.). I would advise the voter of the law and recommend they go back to the vote center. I would also share the page of the Secretary of State’s website that lays out how a voter can be a same-day registrant and cast a ballot so they know what they can use as a valid proof of residency. Finally, I would advise them to speak with a supervisor at the vote center if they continue to have an issue.
What are some things that everyday Nevadans can do to help maintain the voter roll?
Nevadans can help keep the voter rolls current by updating their registration every time they move, and also by regularly voting in elections. They can also encourage their friends and neighbors to keep their voter registration up to date.
Describe the voter outreach your office will conduct to ensure that Nevadans are aware of AB431 (2019), AB121 (2021), AB126 (2021), Automatic Voter Registration, and Same Day Registration?
In many cases, the first stop for voters to learn how they can cast their ballot in an election is their county clerk or registrar’s office. I commit to working with county clerks and registrars– the officials who interact with the public at vote centers and answer questions about how to vote directly from voters– to make sure they have correct, updated information that is being shared. There are also opportunities for local elections officials and the Secretary of State’s office to team up and educate voters about these updates.
Describe your understanding of the certification process of electronic voting machines. What is your stance on transitioning to all paper ballot elections? And the hand count of paper ballots?
The Secretary of State’s website has an extensive list of the laws and regulations related to the certification of voting machines, and that process relies on detailed work by county clerks. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, any transition to all paper ballots would be unfeasible for both voters and election officials, and would delay election results for weeks.
How will you resist official or unofficial, public or private pressure to alter, manipulate, or baselessly reject the results of an election? How will you resist and counteract official or unofficial, public or private disinformation concerning the results of an election? How will you prevent unlawful interference with the counting and certification of election results in Nevada?
More than any other elected office, the Secretary of State serves to ensure that our democracy is protected. It’s my commitment to Nevadans that there are no circumstances under which I would ignore, malign, or attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election. My office will always be transparent with the people of Nevada, and communicate election results clearly and honestly, regardless of how I personally feel about the outcome. That is how democracy works. I will work closely with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that all laws and regulations regarding elections are followed precisely, and protect the safety of election workers every step of the way. I will also work to build trust with the electorate prior to any and all elections so that voters have the opportunity to understand how the voting process works.
How will you protect the physical safety of all officials and volunteers engaged in the administration of Nevada elections, from SOS staff down to volunteer poll workers?
Protecting the safety of our election workers is paramount to having fair and free elections, and as Secretary of State I would commit to ensuring that safety without hesitation. Thankfully the the U.S. Department of Justice is taking this threat seriously at a federal level, and Governor Sisolak and Attorney General Ford have made election safety a priority here in Nevada.
Will you commit to funding translation services for your election website and provide different language materials for Limited English Proficient (LEP) voters?
Based on TargetSmart’s data, we saw a 127% increase in APIA voter early & mail-in ballots turnout compared to 2016, and a 30% increase in APIA vote-share for early & mail ballots compared to 2016. How can we ensure voters feel safe voting in the upcoming elections?
Threats against any voter are unacceptable, and racially-targeted threats are particularly heinous. It’s important that elected officials at every level are sharing clear messaging about the safety and security of elections, and not contributing to an atmosphere of doubt and uncertainty.
What are your suggestions for responding to the rise and threats towards election officials?
Threats against election officials are unconscionable, and come as a direct result of politicians lying about election results that make them unhappy. Our democracy is only safe when people agree that elections were conducted fairly and responsibly, but there are people running for office who don’t want a safe democracy. Their strategy is to bully voters away from exercising their constitutional right to vote, and look the other way when violent elements threaten harm. This strategy is un-American, and must be stopped here and now.
Other states have passed legislation recently to protect the safety of poll workers and Nevada should monitor the success of this legislation to potentially implement those best practices here. These are dedicated and hard working civil servants and they should be respected for the role they play in our elections. There is no reason to treat poll workers with anything but respect.