‘Axe the Tax’ petition loses another round
August 31, 2004
Even if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules gives them one last break, the “Axe the Tax” petition still won’t have enough signatures to get on the November ballot, the Secretary of State’s Office says.
“Axe the Tax,” supported by political activist George Harris and the Independent American Party, is a referendum seeking to roll back tax increases approved by the 2003 Nevada Legislature.
Supporters have tried several ways to force Secretary of State Dean Heller to certify their petition and put the issue on the ballot. They first failed to meet the state deadline for filing their petition, then went to court claiming interference with signature collectors at the Department of Motor Vehicles and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The judge gave them more time. But after they filed the petitions, Heller’s office said a statistical sample showed they still didn’t have 51,337 valid signers. They threatened suit and, because they were just 2,130 short, Heller ordered county election officials to do a full count and verify every signature. After that was completed, supporters were even further behind – nearly 4,500 short.
Harris said they want to join a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case filed by proponents of a marijuana-legalization petition. That case challenges the decision by Clark and other county clerks to reject signatures of people who also registered to vote when they signed the petition – but whose voter registrations were not officially filed until a day or more after the date of the petition signature.
The district judge in Las Vegas ruled that state law requires petition signers to be registered when they sign. The marijuana petition organizers took the case to federal court, saying if the voter card was filled out the same day, the petition signature should be counted.
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A win could qualify the marijuana petition for the ballot. But Chief Deputy Secretary of State Renee Parker said Tuesday even if the appellate court rules in supporters’ favor, it won’t get Axe the Tax enough more signatures to qualify.
She said all but three Nevada counties have reviewed their petitions and found only 2,847 that would be added to Axe the Tax. She said even if every petition signature disqualified for any reason was counted in the remaining three counties – Douglas, Lyon and Mineral – it wouldn’t increase the total enough to meet the 51,337 minimum.
Therefore, Parker said, Axe the Tax won’t qualify for the November ballot.
Contact Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.