LAS VEGAS - Nevada on Thursday asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to put a hold on a lower court's order that would scrap the state's decades-old voting option of "none of the above."
The state must finalize ballots for overseas and military voters by Sept. 7, which isn't enough time to get a ruling on the state's appeal, the Nevada attorney general's office argued in the emergency motion.
U.S. District Judge Robert Jones last week struck down the ballot choice. He ruled the ballot option unconstitutional because votes for "none" don't count in election tallies and cannot win. Two days later, the attorney general's office filed notice that it planned to appeal.
The deadline for mailing ballots overseas is Sept. 22, or 45 days before the election. Ballots take two weeks to be printed, Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson pointed out in the motion for a stay.
The secretary of state's concern is that ballots could be mailed overseas without "none of the above" as one of the choices. If the option were upheld on appeal before the election, those overseas voters would be deprived of one of their legitimate choices.
"As a result, Nevada voters will suffer irreparable harm," the motion said.
The secretary of state further argued that it was likely to succeed on appeal, a precondition for being granted a stay.
The District Court judge, Jones, had refused to grant a stay.
The Republican National Committee financed the lawsuit out of fears that votes for "none" could influence the outcomes of what are expected to be close presidential and Senate races in Nevada.
"None of the above" has appeared on every ballot for Nevada statewide races since 1976.
No other state offers a "none of the above" option.