Connect with us

Politics

Nevada's secretary of state says lawyers who fill poll worker gap should earn continuing education credits

Published

on

Nevada's secretary of state says lawyers who fill poll worker gap should earn continuing education credits
  • Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar in Nevada seeks to address the shortage of poll workers by offering continuing education credits for lawyers who volunteer to fill the gap.
  • Several states have adopted policies allowing poll working duties to count toward maintaining law licenses, with hopes for further expansion.
  • Aguilar said he seeks to strengthen the pipeline of election workers with legal expertise.

With Nevada counties struggling to find poll workers in a pivotal election year, the top election official in the Western swing state is taking a page from his counterparts elsewhere and is asking the legal community to help fill the gap.

Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar wants lawyers who volunteer at the polls to be able to earn continuing education credits to fulfill annual requirements set by the State Bar of Nevada.

It’s a signal of how lawyers are increasingly seen as ideal candidates for stepping in as poll workers, as the positions have grown harder to fill as once-obscure county election departments have been thrust into the spotlight.

DUELING REPUBLICAN CONTESTS: TRUMP TO ROMP IN NEVADA GOP CAUCUS AFTER HALEY LOSES PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

Aguilar likens it to how doctors and nurses stepped up during the pandemic.

Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar speaks at the old Assembly Chambers on May 30, 2023, in Carson City, Nev. With Nevada counties struggling to find poll workers in a pivotal election year, Aguilar is taking a page from his counterparts elsewhere and is asking the legal community to help fill the gap. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes, File)

Advertisement

“Everybody needed medical care during the time of COVID. … And this is a time when we need poll workers,” Aguilar told The Associated Press. “That legal community can stand up and protect the Constitution.”

From swing states like Michigan to conservative strongholds like Tennessee and Iowa, election officials have been tapping lawyers and law students as they struggle to fill poll worker spots — a challenge that has become more difficult amid changing procedures and hostility stemming from former President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election in 2020.

AFTER TRUMP ROMPS IN NEVADA, GOP PRESIDENTIAL RACE MOVES TO HALEY’S HOME STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Other recruiting campaigns have focused on veterans and librarians. In 2020, LeBron James helped spearhead an initiative to help turnout in critical swing states and combat Black voter suppression, in no small part by recruiting poll workers.

Poll workers are on the front lines of increasingly contentious environments — ushering people in, answering technical questions and using a handful of training hours to essentially act as guides for a process where disagreements and misinformation can stir up strong emotions.

Advertisement

Since 2020, eight states have adopted policies to allow poll working duties to count toward credits needed to maintain a law license, and national advocates hope more are on the way.

After pitching the idea at a conference earlier this month, a group of bar association presidents now is tailoring the initiative to individual county election offices, rather than blanket approval from the bar associations for entire states.

“Lawyers are careful, and I respect that. I’m one of them, and it takes a while to process,” said Jason Kaune, chair of the American Bar Association’s standing committee on election law, of getting the initiative approved by state bar associations. “This is just a quicker way to get some real results on the ground.”

For Aguilar, his proposal in Nevada — where turnover has ravaged local election departments since 2020 — is part of a wider plan to protect election workers, whom he refers to as “heroes of democracy.”

Since defeating a Republican election denier in the 2022 midterms, Aguilar has sought to create a better environment for election employees. Last year, he pushed a bill signed by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo that made it a felony to harass, intimidate or use force on election workers performing their duties in Nevada.

Advertisement

Aguilar also hopes that this latest initiative will strengthen the pipeline of full-time election workers with those already well-versed in the law.

Aguilar had hoped the State Bar of Nevada would have implemented his proposal before Nevada’s Feb. 6 presidential preference primary, but the secretary of state’s office has yet to make a formal request for the association to consider, per the State Bar.

During Nevada’s first-in-the-West presidential preference primaries, many election departments scrambled to find poll workers up until the last minute — particularly in rural areas.

In the state’s two most populous counties — Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno — all poll worker slots were fully staffed by the start of early voting, according to county and state election offices. But they’ll need more before the June primary and November general elections.

In rural Douglas County, officials recruited 46 poll workers — far short of the 120 needed, clerk-treasurer Amy Burgans said. Lyon County also came up short with 32 of 45 poll workers needed, clerk-treasurer Staci Lindberg said.

Advertisement

Nevada’s concentrated educational landscape could make it difficult for lawyers and law students to spread across many of the state’s far-flung counties, which are some of the largest yet least populated in the country. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is home to the state’s only law school.

And of the 12,000 attorneys licensed to practice law in Nevada, half are in Clark County, about 14% are in Washoe County and just under 3% are located in the state’s rural counties outside the state capital, according to data from the State Bar of Nevada.

Burgans said she doesn’t know if any lawyers in Douglas County — which borders a large chunk of Lake Tahoe — would take up the offer to earn credit by working at the polls. “But I will tell you that anything that Secretary Aguilar can do to assist us is appreciated by me and the clerks across the state,” she said.

Poll workers have been particularly difficult to find in Douglas County, partly because it has an abundance of part-time residents and there was widespread confusion recently over a state-run primary happening two days before a Nevada GOP-run caucus.

Burgans also noted there’s some fear around becoming an election worker.

Advertisement

For the first time, she had to set up training after letters containing fentanyl were mailed to election officials in several states including Nevada. With a background in law enforcement, Burgans also set up active shooter training. Like election officials across the state, she received emails and calls from voters frustrated about dueling Republican nominating processes earlier this month but said there had been no direct threats.

WHY NEVADA’S HOLDING DUELING GOP PRIMARY AND CAUCUS WITH TRUMP AND HALEY ON SEPARATE BALLOTS

Humboldt County Clerk Tami Rae Spero said the impact of legal education credits for working the polls could be “minimal.” Still, she appreciates the effort and said it could be a steppingstone for similar programs that could better reach her county with its population of just over 17,000. One option might be offering community college or high school credits, she said.

Aguilar is more optimistic that the program can reach all corners of the state.

“I think there are some people who are pretty driven by the mission and understand the importance of poll workers and understand the process of democracy,” he said. “So they’ll make extraordinary efforts to make sure that happens.”

Advertisement

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Politics

Chip Roy raises alarms about George Soros' purchase of radio giant Audacy

Published

on

Chip Roy raises alarms about George Soros' purchase of radio giant Audacy

FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Chip Roy is accusing liberal billionaire George Soros of trying to fast-track his acquisition of a major radio company through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“I write today regarding Soros Fund Management’s acquisition of over $400 million in debt held by Audacy — the second-largest broadcast radio station owner in the country. Of particular concern, the Soros groups are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve a change in ownership in Audacy without the FCC running its normal, statutorily required process,” Roy said in a letter.

“This transaction, which affects radio stations that reach millions of listeners across the U.S., including in Texas’ 21st congressional district, should — at minimum — be subject to rigorous FCC oversight to ensure U.S. radio stations are not subject to undue influence.”

GEORGE SOROS’ SON BECOMES KINGMAKER WITH TOP DEMS AS HE MAKES MULTIPLE WH VISITS, MEETS WITH LAWMAKERS

Advertisement

Rep. Chip Roy, left, is calling national attention to George Soros’ hedge fund acquiring a large stake in a radio company. (Getty Images)

Soros’ investment firm became the largest shareholder of Audacy last month, which owns local radio stations across the country. Audacy filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. 

Soros Fund Management was involved in a similar corporate restructure last year when it was one of the companies that acquired Vice Media after its bankruptcy filing last year.

Now, however, Roy raised alarm over Audacy also requesting that federal officials grant it a temporary exemption to existing FCC rules that forbid foreign company ownership of U.S. radio stations to exceed a 25% share, which would normally slow down the approval process.

ALEX SOROS’ ACCESS TO BIDEN’S WHITE HOUSE CONTINUES AS HE’S NOW VISITED AT LEAST 20 TIMES, RECORDS SHOW

Advertisement
The Audacy radio logo

Audacy is the second-largest radio network in the U.S. after iHeartRadio. (Getty Images)

“But instead of going through the usual petition for declaratory ruling process, which would enable the FCC to review and assess those foreign ownership interests as part of its transaction review, the Soros group has asked the FCC to waive that process and put it off until sometime down the road — indicating that those foreign stakeholders will be given ‘special warrants’ in the meantime,” Roy wrote.

“The Soros group says that skipping the foreign ownership review at this time will enable the FCC to expedite its approval of the Soros applications and thus allow them to more quickly realize their ownership interests in, and take the reins at, these hundreds of local radio stations across the country.”

Audacy’s restructuring deal, which includes Soros’ firm and others, has been approved by the courts and is now awaiting its final hurdle — FCC approval, according to Inside Radio.

PROGRESSIVE MONEY MAN ALEX SOROS HUDDLES WITH DEM CANDIDATES AS 2024 CAMPAIGN HEATS UP

Roy told Fox News Digital that he heard from constituents who “reached out and raised issues and concerns about the extent to which it’s very clear that Soros is, you know, making a move in the radio world.”

Advertisement

“I wanted to pose those questions to…understand what’s happening with the FCC on this, and raise the awareness publicly of the extent to which Soros’ people may be using — either the rules to their advantage, or frankly, the rules are getting abused to fast-track getting in there and grab that debt as a backdoor way to try to acquire a significant amount of ownership over local radio,” he said.

Fox News Digital reached out to Audacy, the FCC and a Soros representative for comment.

Continue Reading

Politics

Inside an Arizona abortion clinic: Uncertainty looms and optimism reigns

Published

on

Inside an Arizona abortion clinic: Uncertainty looms and optimism reigns

When Anna first read about the Arizona Supreme Court reinstating an 1864 law banning all abortions except when a mother’s life is at risk, she sent the article to her partner with an angry text.

“I was like, ‘God, this makes me so mad,’” she said.

She also decided to take a pregnancy test, just in case. Her period was a few days late, which she figured was because of her new birth control pills.

“I just want to make sure before anything goes into effect,” said Anna, 24, who declined to give her last name. “Thank God I did.”

Advertisement

Days later, she found herself at Camelback Family Planning, discussing her options for an abortion.

The April 9 ruling set off a political hurricane, with both President Biden and former President Trump weighing in and Arizona’s Legislature devolving into chaos over whether to repeal the ban before it goes into effect June 8. But at a Phoenix abortion clinic, in the eye of the debate, it has been business as usual.

On Wednesday, Dr. Barbara Zipkin breezed into an examination room carrying Scooter, her emotional support dog. Although she lives in Sherman Oaks, Zipkin flies to Arizona most weeks, staying at her sister’s house while working three to five days at the Camelback clinic.

With her support dog Scooter staying in his bed, Dr. Barbara Zipkin rushes to an exam room at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024, in Phoenix. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed of overturned.

Advertisement

The doctor, who said she is “somewhere between 40 and death,” recalls the moment in 1973 when Roe vs. Wade took effect: She was on a plane returning to medical school, and she thought, “This is what I’m going to do.” She worked for years as an OB-GYN in Los Angeles, specializing in genetics and performing a lot of second trimester abortions.

“But there are enough providers in L.A.,” she said. “Arizona is unique.”

In the exam room, Zipkin walked Anna through her options — a medication abortion, which the patient had previously experienced with a difficult recovery, or a surgical procedure. Then Zipkin recited a state-mandated “silly consent” form, adding her own caveats to each point.

“Consent says the state of Arizona wants you to believe that there are alternatives to abortion. Well, that’s all well and good, but it’s not really true, because when you’re in this position, you really only have two options. One is carry it and the other is don’t carry it,” Zipkin said. “Adoption and all that — that comes after. You’re either carrying this or you’re not, and it still affects you.”

Anna said she’d always paid attention to the national conversation around abortion, as a woman and especially as an Arizonan. Anna said she had started taking birth control pills within a week of getting pregnant. As a 24-year-old who lives with roommates, she doesn’t consider herself financially able to care for a child.

Advertisement
Zipkin performs an ultrasound on a patient.

Dr. Barbara Zipkin performs an ultrasound on a 25-year-old patient who didn’t want her name or face shown at Camelback Family Planning on April 18. The patient thought the Arizona 1864 law banning abortion had already taken effect and was planning on going to California for an abortion but she learned that the clinic in Phoenix was still open and performing abortions. “It makes me sad to think that women in the future may not be to have the choice to come here if that law goes into effect,” she said.

“It’s just not the situation I want for myself, or my children in the future. I want a two-parent household in a stable home, or a stable situation,” Anna said. “I just don’t know that I’m in that right now.”

After her 10-minute consultation with Zipkin, Anna scheduled an appointment for the following week, when she would decide whether to have a medication or surgical abortion.

After answering Anna’s questions, Zipkin offered her last bit of guidance: “Before I forget, because I have the attention span of a gnat — vote!”

Abortion is likely to top voters’ concerns in Arizona, where state legislators have yet to vote on a proposed bill repealing the ban.

Advertisement

In the sunny plaza between the two state Capitol chambers, protesters on both sides of the debate milled about Wednesday, some wearing bright orange T-shirts in support of Arizona for Abortion Access, and others in shirts depicting baby’s feet and proclaiming “Choose life.”

Uncertainty at the clinic

Back at the Camelback clinic, staff members gathered in the break room, decorated with posters and handmade thank you cards, including one with a uterus drawn in place of a “Y.” They discussed what could happen after June 8, and the clinic’s founder, Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, sought to provide clarity.

1 A Thank You card hangs on the refrigerator in the beak room at Camelback Family Planning on April 17, 2024

2 A Thank You cards hang on a cupboard at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona.

3 Information on a no-cost abortion clinic in San Francisco hangs on the glass at the

1. A Thank You card hangs on the refrigerator in the beak room at Camelback Family Planning on April 17, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned. 2. A Thank You cards hang on a cupboard at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned. 3. Information on a no-cost abortion clinic in San Francisco hangs on the glass at the reception area at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned.

Advertisement

She’s hopeful that a constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion access will be on the November ballot — activists with Arizona for Abortion Access say they have gathered enough signatures.

“People were pretty nervous and stressed that they’re not going to have a job until November,” Goodrick said.

For a clinic rocked by Supreme Court decisions, it has become adept at weathering changes, Goodrick said. A ruling comes down, the staff adjusts its routines and schedules and continues to provide abortions with new limitations, which sometimes includes referring patients to clinics in California or Nevada.

The constant fluctuations have had their toll, though. The clinic, which Goodrick opened in 1999, usually averages about 350 patients a month. That total dropped in 2022 amid patient confusion over what would happen in the wake of Roe vs. Wade being overturned. Her small staff of 12 shrank to six, Goodrick said, as workers grew tired “from the stress of just not knowing.”

The doctor and her staff had just gotten into the swing of their new routine when the state Supreme Court ruling came down.

Advertisement
 Dr. Barbara Zipkin, right, consults with a co-worker over ultrasound results at Camelback Family

Dr. Barbara Zipkin, right, consults with a co-worker over ultrasound results at Camelback Family Planning . The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if enforcement of the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned.

“The patients are more anxious,” Goodrick said. “It causes what the Republicans want, which is mayhem.”

But this time, she hopes, will be different.

“We just have to get to Nov. 25,” Goodrick said, referring to the date that a constitutional amendment, if approved, would take effect.

Confident that the political fight will turn in her favor, Goodrick has opened the clinic’s doors to media from around the globe, who’ve descended on Arizona to chronicle the latest front in a nationwide battle over abortion.

Advertisement

Nurses wearing “abortion is healthcare” T-shirts moved deftly around the journalists, whom they’ve grown accustomed to filling their workplace recently. On their lunch break, the staff crowded into the break room, bickering over Supreme Court justices.

“Which one’s worse — [Clarence] Thomas or [Samuel] Alito?” one asked.

Sitting at a folding table laden with snacks, Dr. Jessica Holmes peered at the clinic’s schedule on her laptop.

Nurses carry charts to exam rooms past thank you cards tacked to cupboards and artwork of a uterus hanging on a clothesline.

Nurses carry charts to exam rooms past thank you cards tacked to cupboards and artwork of a uterus hanging on a clothesline at Camelback Family Planning.

“Are you doing through June, or only the first eight days?” Holmes asked.

Advertisement

“No, we’ll go through June,” Goodrick answered briskly.

Opposing forces of optimism

Standing on the sidewalk a few yards from the clinic door, antiabortion activists were similarly optimistic about the future of Arizona’s abortion law.

“We accept it as a victory and we’re very excited,” said Matt Engelthaler, 49, who has protested abortions since he was a teenager, when he first joined his parents to pray outside clinics. “But we also realize that changing laws isn’t what’s gonna do anything, it’s just changing hearts. That’s what we pray for.”

Engelthaler fingered rosary beads as he held a sign that said, “Choose life.” A Catholic, he said he prayed the rosary “for the moms, dads and the babies,” and another prayer for the abortion clinic workers, “that they can understand the travesty of what they’re doing and turn away from it.”

A passing car honked, and the driver stuck his middle finger in the air at the protesters.

Advertisement

“People just don’t know how to do the peace sign correctly,” Engelthaler said with a laugh.

A few minutes later, another car honked and the driver gave a thumbs up.

By the clinic door, three volunteers wearing bright, rainbow-colored vests escorted patients from their cars into the clinic, blocking their view of the sidewalk protesters with large, rainbow umbrellas. Michael Buble played on a nearby speaker, ready to drown out any protester’s megaphone.

“When they go loud, we go louder,” said one escort, who declined to give her name. She said her group of volunteers would continue serving at the clinic until they’re told to stop.

One of the patients, a 26-year-old from Phoenix, said the escorts’ music lifted her spirits on an otherwise bleak day. She took Scooter into her arms and, stroking the dog’s back, told the doctor that she found out she was pregnant two days after the state Supreme Court decision.

Advertisement
A patient strokes support dog Scooter in an exam room

A 26-year-old patient from Phoenix strokes support dog Scooter in an exam room as Dr. Barbara Zipkin discusses her options for an abortion. The patient found out she was pregnant two days after the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated an 1864 law banning abortion.

“It has just been draining, in that sense of like, wow — this would happen this week,” the patient said.

She said that as Christians, her family vehemently opposes abortion and would support her if she decided to have a baby. The woman said she and her partner decided to keep the abortion private.

“It’s definitely confusing and emotional, considering, like, my upbringing,” she said. But referring to the escorts outside who welcomed her, she added, “it’s also encouraging, in a sense, because you do feel this community.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Politics

How the Senate Voted on Foreign Aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

Published

on

How the Senate Voted on Foreign Aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The Senate on Tuesday passed the long-stalled $95.3 billion package of aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, along with legislation that could lead to a ban on TikTok, clearing the measure and sending it to President Biden for his signature.

Answer Democrats Republicans Independents Total Bar chart of total votes
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0

Note: Three senators did not vote.

The overwhelming vote reflected broad bipartisan support for the measure, which passed the House on Saturday by wide margins after a tortured journey through Congress that was met with right-wing resistance.

The measure includes $60.8 billion for Ukraine; $26.4 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8.1 billion for the Indo-Pacific region. It also would impose a new round of sanctions on Iran, and require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban the app in the United States.

Advertisement

The measure had been stalled for months on Capitol Hill, where right-wing Republicans opposed to the aid for Ukraine pressured Speaker Mike Johnson not to allow it to be considered unless their demands for a severe border enforcement bill were met.

But when Republicans, egged on by former President Donald J. Trump, rejected linking it to a bipartisan border deal, the Senate passed the foreign assistance package on its own in February and pressured the House to do the same.

It took Mr. Johnson two additional months to figure out a way to steer around his right flank and do so. He used a convoluted maneuver in which the House cast separate votes to push through the pieces of the package and sent them to the Senate as one bill.

The TikTok provision was included as part of an effort to sweeten the deal for conservatives. Lawmakers have repeatedly cited the potential for Beijing to gain access to U.S. user data or to use the app for propaganda, including ahead of this year’s presidential election.

How Every Senator Voted

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending