‘Axe the Tax,’ Nader candidacy battles continue | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Axe the Tax,’ Nader candidacy battles continue

Spots on the Nevada ballot for the Axe the Tax petition and presidential candidate Ralph Nader were debated in Carson District Court on Monday, but neither issue was resolved.

The Nevada Taxpayer’s Association is challenging the tax repeal referendum, saying the petitions weren’t legal and that it would create an unconstitutional, unbalanced budget.

Deputy Attorney General Vicki Oldenburg noted to District Judge Bill Maddox on Monday the secretary of state has ruled the initiative didn’t get enough signatures to be on the ballot.

Proponents, however, say the proposal to eliminate $833 million in taxes increases may still make the ballot. They have appealed to federal court to determine if people who signed and registered to vote at the same time should be counted, even if their voter registration didn’t get filed until a day or two later.

Officials at the secretary of state’s office said even then, the petition will probably be about 700 signatures short.

“If they’re not getting on the ballot no matter what, why should I even decide this case?” Maddox asked.

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He told the Secretary of State’s Office to let him know soon whether the disputed names could be enough to qualify the petition.

George Harris, who headed the Axe the Tax petition drive, said he will go to court unless the referendum is put on the ballot.

“They should just let voters vote on the question and then deal with this later,” he said.

Petitioning to remove Nader from the ballot, the Nevada Democratic Party argued the majority of 11,888 signatures collected by Nader supporters are flawed.

The case hangs on how Maddox interprets a technical challenge to how the petitions were verified. That challenge could remove more than 5,000 of the signatures. No other issue raised would take anywhere near that many names off the list, and only 5,000 valid names are needed to qualify Nader.

Democrats say many of those circulators who authenticated the signatures listed hotel rooms for their address, making it impossible to find them in case of a challenge. They say without real addresses for those circulators, the petitions they brought in should be invalidated.

Along with duplicate names, those who aren’t registered voters and allegedly forged or fraudulently obtained names, the issue would put the number of valid signatures well below the 5,000 mark and remove Nader from the Nevada ballot.

Maddox set 1 p.m. today to finish the hearing, saying: “There’s a good chance all I’m doing is gathering evidence for the Supreme Court so they have it when they decide to reverse me or uphold me.”

Contact Geoff Dornan at nevadaappeal@sbcglobal.net or 687-8750.