Heller starts appeal of ballot question ruling | NevadaAppeal.com

Heller starts appeal of ballot question ruling

BRENDAN RILEY

Nevada’s secretary of state moved Wednesday for a state Supreme Court appeal of a lower court order that qualified two more proposals for the November ballot.

Dean Heller asked state Attorney General Brian Sandoval to start an appeal of the decision by Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox that granted ballot status for the proposals to raise the minimum wage and to stop frivolous lawsuits.

Heller said he hadn’t planned to appeal, but because another lawsuit is based in part on Maddox’ ruling “and the possibility exists that others may follow, I have no other choice.”

“Because of lawsuits being filed in different district courts and being heard by different district court judges, the distinct possibility exists of conflicting decisions, thereby prolonging the ballot question process,” Heller added.

Heller has said he followed the Nevada Constitution in making his initial decision against the proposals, and claims by petition advocates that he was trying to thwart the will of the public were “not only baseless but downright ridiculous.”

Heller also said Monday that he told petitioners that a court couldn’t intervene until he made a decision on the validity of signatures supporting the minimum wage and frivolous lawsuit proposals.

After Maddox ordered the questions onto the ballot last week, Heller promptly recalculated the signature count for both proposals and determined they easily met a requirement for a minimum of 51,337 signatures.

The proposal to raise the minimum wage by $1, to $6.15 an hour, gained 10,499 more signatures for a total of 59,718. The frivolous lawsuits proposal picked up 8,025 signatures for a total of 57,617.

The Secretary of State’s Office had said petitioners turned in what appeared to be more than enough names – but some of the petitions lacked an affidavit from a petition signer, attesting that other signatures were those of registered voters. Petition gatherers also sign an affidavit that says the signatures are valid.

Maddox said the double-signature requirement that’s in the Nevada Constitution clashes with a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision on ballot proposals.

“The ‘boy, is that stupid’ test applies here,” Maddox said, adding that would be the reaction of a petition signer when asked to sign another document attesting that other signatures of total strangers also were valid.

Heller said his take on the controversy was, “It’s the constitution, stupid.”