Axe the Tax group files another appeal

The group pushing to repeal taxes passed by the 2003 Legislature, filed another appeal trying Friday to force that question and a companion issue barring public workers from running for the Legislature onto the November ballot.

The appeal was filed with Carson District Judge Bill Maddox accusing the Secretary of State and his staff of refusing to rule on their administrative appeal asking the questions be put on the ballot. Attorney Joel Hansen said he expects a hearing as soon as Tuesday.

"This was nothing more than a blatant attempt to deny Nevadans for Sound Government their day in court," the appeal says. It charges that Secretary Dean Heller, his staff and county clerks have been "hostile" to the petition gatherers and their cause.

The Secretary of State's office, however, pointed out the tax and public-employees petitions didn't get enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

They failed to reach 51,337 signatures in a sample canvass by county election officials but were close enough that Heller ordered clerks to count and verify every signer. When that was completed, the petitions still didn't have enough valid signatures.

Proponents Joel Hansen and George Harris argued that was because signatures of those who signed and also registered to vote the same day weren't all counted and they accused county officials of "inconsistent counting procedures."

Chief Deputy Secretary of State Renee Parker said even if all those names were counted, the petitions fell short.

But she said some couldn't be counted because both Nevada courts and the federal Ninth Circuit Court have ruled voters must be registered the same day they sign a petition. She said the rulings specifically invalidated voter registrations turned in even one day after the petition was signed.

She said the petitions weren't kept off the ballot by some conspiracy between the secretary's office and the clerks but by the simple fact not enough Nevada voters signed them to qualify.

Some county election officials have already been forced to reprint absentee and sample ballots because of late court action in the battle between trial lawyers and doctors over the malpractice ballot question. Those ballots would have to be reprinted again to put "Axe the Tax" and the ban on public employees running for the Legislature on the ballot, adding more than $500,000 to the cost of the November elections.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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