Pot and gun petitions pass first hurdle
Advocates collected more than twice the number of signatures needed to make the Legislature consider petitions legalizing recreational marijuana and requiring background checks to buy a gun in Nevada.
The petitions were submitted to county clerks in each of Nevada’s four Congressional Districts earlier this week, then forwarded to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division.
On election day, two organizers spent the day at the Fallon Convention Center asking voters if they would sign either or both petitions.
That division has now directed the county clerks/voter registrars across the state to begin randomly checking those signatures against their voter rolls to determine whether there are enough valid signatures to certify the petitions to the 2015 Legislature.
Linda Rothery, deputy clerk for Churchill County, said a program assists the staff in verifying the signatures on the rolls. She said the voter petitions need must be verified by the end of the first week in December.
In order to qualify, each petition had to raise at least 101,667 valid signatures statewide and a minimum of 25,417 signatures in each of Nevada’s four congressional districts.
Both petitions easily cleared that first hurdle in the process.
For the background check initiative, supporters collected a total of 246,197 signatures, ranging from 49,286 in District 2 to 78,125 in District 1.
Backers of the marijuana initiative collected 203,227 signatures, ranging from 46,246 in District 3 to 60,095 in District 1.
To initially verify there are enough registered voters among the signers, elections division officials directed county officials to randomly examine 5 percent of the signatures in each county and compare them to voter rolls. The number each county must verify depends on the number of signers from that county and ranges from just one name in eight of Nevada’s rural counties to 8,838 in the three congressional districts that have voters in Clark County
After that, it’s up to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division to decide if the number of valid signers is high enough that a full review of all signatures is not needed.
Under state law, the clerks have nine days to complete the process and submit the results for both petitions to the elections division by 5 p.m., Dec. 4.