Nevada will have 5 statewide questions on November ballot
LAS VEGAS — Two proposed statewide initiatives failed to gather enough signatures to make the November ballot in Nevada, leaving five proposed constitutional amendments for voters to consider, including a measure to recognize same-sex marriages.
Backers of two ballot initiatives that sought to amend Nevada’s constitution did not submit signatures before a Monday deadline that had been extended for two months after supporters of a redistricting measure sued for more time to collect the 98,000 needed signatures, citing coronavirus-related restrictions.
Even with the extension, petitioners for the redistricting initiative were only able to collect about 12,000 signatures, according to Sondra Cosgrove, president of the League of Women Voters of Nevada, which was backing the initiative.
“We were able to get some extra signatures but when the infection rate started going up again, there was no way any of us wanted to be responsible for anybody dying,” she said. “Nobody should die over a ballot question.”
Cosgrove’s group tried to persuade Democratic Gov. Steve Sioslak to issue an order allowing electronic signatures, but the governor did not act on the request.
The group’s proposal would have amended Nevada’s Constitution to have an appointed commission, rather than the Legislature, redraw statewide voting districts after the next U.S. Census.
The other ballot initiative that failed to turn in signatures would have amended the Nevada Constitution to change the way state senators are elected including shortening terms of office and instituting a version of ranked choice voting.
Here’s a look at the questions that will be on the November ballot:
BOARD OF REGENTS
Question 1 on the ballot would remove the Board of Regents system from the state constitution, giving the Legislature more control over colleges and universities. The amendment would allow lawmakers to make changes without having to go through a five-year process of amending the constitution.
Though same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, Question 2 on the ballot would enshrine the right in Nevada’s constitution and remove existing language recognizing marriages only between a man and a woman. The amendment would also establish that religious organizations and clergy members have the right to refuse to perform a marriage.
BOARD OF PARDONS
A proposed constitutional amendment regarding the state Board of Pardons will be Question 3 on the ballot. The board, made up of the governor, state Supreme Court justices and the attorney general, would be required to meet at least four times a year. The amendment would also remove the governor’s power to veto a decision by the majority of the board.
Question 4 on the ballot would enshrine an existing voters’ bill of rights under state law to the Nevada Constitution. It would guarantee voters can have their ballots recorded accurately and can cast votes without intimidation or coercion, among other rights.
A proposal that will be listed as Question 6 would amend the state’s constitution to stipulate that electric utilities generate or acquire at least 50% of power from renewable sources to by 2030. The measure was passed by voters in 2018 but needs voter approval again this year. Sisolak last year signed the same standards into law, but the constitutional amendment would make it much harder to change in the future.