Vote Nevada Update 11/26/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

A lawsuit was filed on November 17th to challenge the congressional and legislative redistricting maps. 

You can read about it here: https://vote-nevada.news/redistricting-lawsuit

And you can read about it and view the lawsuit at the bottom here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/gop-assemblyman-files-lawsuit-challenging-democrats-redistricting-plan

Assemblyman Greg Hafen and one of his Pahrump constituents, John Koenig, are the plaintiffs.  The complaint asks for the maps to be enjoined, so, not to be used for the 2022 election cycle, arguing both sets of maps violate the U.S. and Nevada constitutions.  Both plaintiffs claim to have been denied equal protection of the laws and the right to fair representation.  The complaint also challenges the constitutionality of the process used to pass the maps into law.

On the process, the lawsuit points to the fast nature of the special legislative session, which often gave legislators and the public less than 24 hours to respond to the maps, and to the fact that questions about how the maps were drawn went unanswered.  No one in the majority party or the Legislative Counsel Bureau could answer questions about the variables used to draw the maps.  

Specifically, the plaintiffs object to Nye County being divided into three assembly districts and to dividing Pahrump into two assembly districts, with Assembly District 36 now encompassing parts of rural Pahrump and parts of urban Clark County.  The lawsuit argues that these two geographic areas share little to nothing in common, which purposefully dilutes the voting power of rural, Pahrump residents.

The plaintiffs reference the court-appointed special masters who drew the 2011 redistricting maps and were required to adhere to much stricter standards and criteria to protect the right to fair representation than the legislature required of itself when drawing the 2021 maps. The lawsuit states that no justification was given for not following the court-mandated standards and criteria from 2011 for the 2021 redistricting process.

The lawsuit’s first claim for relief is under the Nevada Constitution.  The brief cites specific sections of the Nevada Constitution that establish a right to equal treatment and protection for every Nevadan, including a right to due process before a right or protection can be withdrawn or withheld.  It also cites the new Voter Bill of Rights, added to the Nevada constitution in 2020, which establishes that all voters must have equal access to election processes.

The lawsuit’s second claim for relief is under the U.S. Constitution. The brief cites the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and the due process clause of the 5th amendment to assert that all persons living under the U.S. Constitution must be treated equally during elections.

The lawsuit’s third claim for relief is under the Nevada Constitution’s freedom of speech and freedom of assembly clauses. Article 1, section 10, of the Nevada Constitution, states, “The people shall have the right freely to assemble together to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives and to petition the Legislature for redress of Grievances.”  The brief argues that by splitting Assembly District 33 between rural Pahrump and urban Clark County, the voices of rural Republican and Independent voters will be less effective.

The lawsuit further claims that the congressional and legislative maps as a whole were drawn to dilute the votes of Republican and Independent voters, thereby denying both groups the ability to benefit from fair representation. The speech of these Nevadans, according to the lawsuit, will be less effective in electing candidates and advocating for certain political positions.  

The lawsuit argues that Republican and Independent voters were packed and cracked to dilute their votes and weaken their voices.  It states that no other rationale has been given for the way Republican and Independent voters were distributed among the legislative and congressional districts. (You can review packing and cracking in this short video: https://youtu.be/YcUDBgYodIE). 

The document ends with a request that the redistricting maps be redrawn to comply with all federal and state redistricting criteria.

It will be interesting to see whether the state district court uses our new Voter Bill of Rights, in the Nevada Constitution, similarly to how the federal courts use the Voting Rights Act.  In cases of racial gerrymandering, plaintiffs can petition in federal court for relief arguing vote dilution due to members of a racial group either being packed or cracked in one or more districts. 

This is important because, in the past, voters could also file in federal court to petition for help in cases of partisan gerrymandering (gerrymandering to advantage one political party over another).  But, in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rucho v. Common Cause that partisan gerrymandering cases must now only be brought in state court under state constitutions and laws. This is why the case against our redistricting maps was filed in state district court. 

If Judge Russel finds that Nevadans can claim a right to fair representation under the Voter Bill of Rights in state court based on criteria other than race, this case may establish a mechanism for limiting partisan gerrymandering in future redistricting cycles through litigation.

I will send out additional information as it becomes available.

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is now qualified to receive donations through Facebook fundraisers.

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

Vote Nevada Update 11/24/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Now that we have an open primary with ranked-choice voting ballot question, this Ohio State University Moritz College of Law panel on plurality voting and democracy reform is very instructive.  https://youtu.be/uE1y7qsQpAc  

If you are traveling this holiday, please take precautions to ensure you and your families will remain healthy and safe.

Last week’s Native American Holiday Market at the College of Southern Nevada was a huge success! If you are interested in including Native American entrepreneurs in your Black Friday shopping, there will be another Native American holiday market on Friday, November 26th.  The time is noon to 2 pm for elders and anyone who needs extra health protection and then from 2 to 6 pm the market will be open to everyone else at 1325 S. Maryland Parkway, 89104.

CraftFairBlackFriday

 

Happy holiday and thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

 

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is now qualified to receive donations through Facebook fundraisers.

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

 

Vote Nevada Update 11/17/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

The CCSD Trustees meeting to possibly reconsider Superintendent Jara’s termination is tomorrow, November 18, at 5:00 pm.  You can view the meeting agenda here: https://ccsd.net/trustees/meeting-agendas/2021 and you can watch the meeting live-streamed here: https://ccsd.eduvision.tv/watchlive.aspx?q=SLswNIYl6UQ%253d

Saturday is the Native American Holiday Market at the CSN West Charleston Campus.  The event is from 9 to 5 in the Student Union Auditorium.  Please come out to support our indigenous community members.

Address: 6375 West Charleston, LV NV 89146

Here is a campus map: https://www.csn.edu/sites/default/files/documents/2019charlestonmap.pdf

NAHM1

 

Today, the Nevada Independent reported that a group filed an open primary with ranked-choice voting ballot question for this election cycle.  It is a constitutional amendment because our constitution allows a candidate to win with a plurality, so that needs to be amended to allow for ranked-choice voting.  Here is the article: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/proposed-ballot-question-would-create-open-primaries-ranked-choice-voting

For reference, we covered open primary systems this summer during our civics festival.  Doug Goodman, who has been working on ranked-choice voting since 2013, did a presentation for us.  Here is Doug’s website with lots of good voter registration statistics: https://nevadansforelectionreform.org/

You can watch his presentation, which explains ranked-choice voting (it is not difficult).  

This is the recording of Doug Goodman’s presentation on primary election reform: https://vote-nevada.news/Goodman-Open-Primary-RCV

This is a copy of Doug Goodman’s PowerPoint presentation on primary election reform: Goodman Open Primaries

For further reference, according to current Nevada law, any eligible Nevadan can run for any office as a nonpartisan candidate and their name will automatically go onto the general election ballot. So, right now we could have unlimited numbers of nonpartisan candidates on the general election ballot for each race and under the plurality rule, which means someone could win with less than 50 percent of the votes.

You can read the Independent Candidate Guide here: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showpublisheddocument?id=9605

Moving to a top 5 system is not that different from what we already have; and, opening the primary will ensure our growing number of nonpartisan and independent voters will not be shut out of our taxpayer-financed election process. 

As you can tell, I would support this ballot question. Closed primaries force candidates to only speak to their party’s base voters during the primary and then to “pivot” to speak to everyone else in the general election.  This creates extremism in the primary and it makes the candidates seem untruthful to young voters.  My students ask me how to know when a candidate is being truthful when their messaging changes so drastically.

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada Redistricting Update 11/16/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Our legislature voted in the Assembly and the Senate to approve SB1 as amended today.  You can see the maps here:

Congressional: https://t.co/RMm8sGwpTW

Senate: https://t.co/T72Ea3z9Ak

Assembly: https://t.co/hu6aadTZ2P

All the Democrats, except Edgar Flores, voted in favor of the maps, while all the Republicans vote no.  The Governor stated that he felt the legislative redistricting committees heard and took public concerns into consideration in the amended maps, so he will sign SB1 as passed.

The Nevada Count coalition released the following statement:

NevadaCount1

NevadaCount2

I am assuming there will be at least one lawsuit challenging the congressional redistricting map in federal court under the Voting Rights Act section 2.  And we may see a second lawsuit from Republicans challenging the legislative redistricting maps, but it is less clear what law or constitutional right the second lawsuit would cite under which to claim harm.

I will send another update as soon as there is more information on possible lawsuits.

Sondra

Vote Nevada Redistricting Update 11/15/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

The Assembly Select Committee on Redistricting and Elections met this morning to review amendments to Senate Bill 1, which changes the congressional and legislative redistricting maps.  The committee reviewed the amended maps and then asked Legislative Counsel Bureau staff questions. 

Some questions focused on comparing demographics in districts between 2011 and 2021.  The Voting Rights Act section 2 was referenced, so I wanted to ensure we all have the same reference material for that law.  Here is the Department of Justice Memo on Redistricting: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-issues-guidance-federal-statutes-regarding-redistricting-and-methods

On Saturday, during public comment, there was only one person who called in to support SB1, almost all other comments were in opposition.  Today, there were no comments to support the amended version of SB1, almost all comments were again in opposition. You can watch the hearing recording here: https://vote-nevada.news/Assembly-Redistricting-Committee

At the end of the committee hearing, Chair Miller moved immediately into a work session to vote the bill out of the committee.  All Democrats voted yes to send the bill to the Assembly floor with a recommendation to pass SB1 as amended.  All the Republicans voted no.

The Assembly came into session long enough to accept SB1 from their Committee on Redistricting and to place it on the General File for its second reading.  The was no further action taken except to adjourn until tomorrow, 11/16/2021, at 9 am. 

The Senate has a floor session scheduled for 10:00 am.  Every indication is that the Assembly will vote to approve SB1 as amended and then will send it to the Senate for a vote on the amendment. 

You can watch the floor sessions from this page: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/33rd2021Special

Speaker Frierson and Governor Sisolak both told Riley Snyder from the Nevada Independent that SB1, as amended, will be the final version and that the Governor will sign it into law.  At that point, there may be lawsuits filed over CD1 and some Assembly and Senate districts in the north. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/nevada-redistricting-maps-near-final-passage-but-diversity-debates-continue  

More tomorrow,

Sondra

Vote Nevada Redistricting Update 11/14/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

For most of today, we were not sure what was happening. While the NELIS Calendar showed an Assembly Floor meeting scheduled for noon, legislators did not appear until 4 pm.  The Senate brought SB1, the bill containing the legislative and congressional redistricting maps, up for a vote. 

Despite the majority leader stating that there would be an amendment added to SB1 in the Assembly, the majority asked the chamber to approve the bill before sending it to the Assembly.  It was odd that a Senate bill was not amended in the Senate.

In the Assembly, the body voted unanimously to approve AB1, the bill with the Higher Education Board of Regents redistricting maps and the exemption to allow the judicial candidates to file to run in March instead of January.  AB1 then went to the Senate, where the Senate redistricting committee voted to send it to the Senate floor tomorrow for approval.

The Assembly referred SB1 to their redistricting committee, which will have a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 am.  You can see the amended maps here:

Congressional: https://t.co/RMm8sGwpTW

Senate: https://t.co/T72Ea3z9Ak

Assembly: https://t.co/hu6aadTZ2P

The changes amended into these maps are on this press release.

DemRedistrictingII

We can view the hearing on this page: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/33rd2021Special/Bill/8360/Overview

While yesterday’s hearing had strong opposition to the redrawn Congressional District 1, which dilutes the Latino vote, the just-released Congressional map shows no changes.

The Senate will convene a floor session at 10:00 am to vote on AB1 and the Assembly will convene a floor session at 1:00 pm to vote on SB1.  You can view the floor sessions here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Calendar/A/

If the Assembly approves SB1 with the amendments, it must return to the Senate for a new vote.

There are sure to be lawsuits filed after the Governor approves the maps. The ACLU NV is already posting about CD1:

https://twitter.com/ACLUNV/status/1460100634724552705?s=20

Also, for reference, in 2022, not all elections are impacted by these new maps.  All our constitutional statewide offices will be up for election.  This includes the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer.  Senator Cortez Masto will also be up for re-election in a statewide race.  All of these candidates will face all voters, including those who feel their votes have been diluted due to the new maps.

You’ll hear more from me tomorrow,

Sondra

 

Vote Nevada Redistricting Update 11/13/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Today’s special session hearing on the proposed congressional and legislative redistricting maps was very concerning.

After legislators asked questions about map-creation decisions, without any answers, public comments were almost exclusively in opposition.   Most of the commenters were people of color who were very opposed to having their communities “cracked.”

When applied to a community of interest cracking means dividing community members between two or more districts so that they lack the votes needed to elect a candidate of their choosing. 

The Democratic majority’s proposed maps have pulled Latino voters from Congressional District 1, which currently has almost 43 percent Latino voters, and put them into CD 3 and CD 4, which then gives all three districts a minority majority.  This means the Latino voters in the three new congressional districts are under 32 percent. 

The Latino commentors who spoke during the hearing argued that they oppose their community being cracked between the three congressional districts.  They want CD1 to remain as close to what it is now.

The other change to CD 1 causing worry is that the new map puts the east side of Las Vegas (where I have lived for 35 years) in the same district as Henderson and Boulder City.  The east side has much more in common with the Historic West Side and North Las Vegas than it does with Henderson and Boulder City.

Native American community members also pointed out that in the new map some of their reservations are split into more than one district and so are also cracked.

The Democratic Party would like to distribute their voters into more districts to make those districts safe for Democratic candidates, while members of communities of color want their voting power concentrated into fewer districts so they can elect their preferred candidates.

You can listen to the hearing and the public comments on the recording here: https://vote-nevada.news/Joint-Committee-Hearing

Tomorrow, the Assembly meets at noon to consider AB1, which includes the Higher Education Board of Regents maps and a temporary suspension of the rules for judicial candidates filing for office.  The exemption will allow judicial candidates to file in March instead of January.

The Senate will meet at 4:00 pm to consider SB1, which is the congressional and legislative district maps.

You will be able to access and watch tomorrow’s legislative meetings here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/33rd2021Special

 

Sondra

 

Vote Nevada Update: Redistricting 11/13/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

You can watch yesterday’s legislative floor sessions to create the rules for the redistricting session and the committee meeting on the Higher Education Board of Regents redistricting maps here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Video/

The Joint Committee of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting and Elections and Assembly Select Committee on Redistricting and Elections meets today at 10:00 am to:

Revises the election districts for members of the Legislature, members of the State Board of Education and Representatives in Congress and the petition districts for certain statewide initiatives or referendums.

You can view the hearing and review the agenda here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL//33rd2021Special/Bill/8360/Overview

You can view the proposed congressional district maps here: https://redistricting.leg.state.nv.us/legdistricting/nevada/comment_links#

The public comment rules are on the meeting agenda:

Public Comment
Under this item, public testimony is presented in person or by phone when called for by the Chair. The period of public comment by each speaker may be limited. Because of time considerations, speakers are urged to avoid repetition of testimony made by previous speakers. No public testimony is taken on matters being discussed during Work Sessions.

The Chair will announce the opening of public comment for each Agenda item during the meeting, on Saturday, November 13, 2021.
• Dial: +1 6699006833
• When prompted to provide your Meeting ID, enter, 83997974355 then press #
• When prompted for a Participant ID, press #
• To resolve any issues related to dialing for this meeting, please call (775) 684­6990

Written comments may be submitted, in lieu of testifying, by email to: SenSCRE@sen.state.nv.us or facsimile to: (775) 684­6522, during or after the meeting.

A person may also have written comments added to the meeting on the Legislative website in lieu of testifying. Written comments can be submitted by email to: SenSCRE@sen.state.nv.us or facsimile to: (775) 684­6500. You may also submit your opinion on a bill or resolution by using the Opinions application at: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/33rd2021/.

There is a work session (voting on whether to recommend to approve) on the Higher Education Board of Regents redistricting maps at 5:00 pm.  You can view the hearing and review the agenda here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL//33rd2021Special/Bill/8361/Meetings

Public comments instructions are on the meeting agenda:

Public comment.
Proposed amendments must be submitted in writing to the Committee along with the sponsor’s name, contact
information, and the intent of the amendment.

Due to time limitations, the public is strongly encouraged to submit written testimony in advance of
the meeting by email at REE@asm.state.nv.us, facsimile at (775) 684-8533, or U.S. Mail postmarked within
24 hours of adjournment of the meeting to the Nevada State Assembly, 401 South Carson Street, Carson

City, Nevada 89701. If you wish to present testimony by telephone, please call (669) 900-6833 on November 13, 2021, and enter Meeting ID 870 7036 6450. In addition, please send an email to REE@asm.state.nv.us and include your name; the name of the organization you represent, if applicable; email address; telephone number; and position on the bill (for, against, or neutral), if applicable. Each caller offering testimony during this period for public comment may be limited to not more than 3 minutes.

If new meetings are schedule, those meetings will appear on this page: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Calendar/A/

The legislature exempts itself from the Open Meeting law, so there are no rules governing when meetings are announced and agenda are posted.  This is the main reason Fair Maps Nevada proposed an independent redistricting commission bound by the Open Meeting Law last year.

Sondra

 

Vote Nevada Update 11/11/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Today, the Governor announced that the special legislative session to approve new congressional and legislative redistricting maps will begin tomorrow, 11/12, at 1 pm. https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-hillary-clinton-nevada-redistricting-legislature-fa45a7c4539707125410e513820ca280

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project released its scored maps for Nevada this morning.

Nevada State Assembly Redistricting Map: https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Assembly-Map

Nevada State Senate Redistricting Map: https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Senate-Map

Nevada Congressional Map: https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Congressional-Map

We can watch the legislative special session hearings from this page as the hearings are scheduled: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Calendar/A/

If the legislature continues to offer in-person, telephonic, and written public comments, we can provide public comments in person at the legislative building in Carson City or at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas. You can read about both buildings and view location maps here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/General/AboutLeg/maps/

Instructions for calling in to provide public comments and/or to submit written public comments will be at the top of each hearing’s agenda. Here is an example:

Public Comments

You can view the legislatively drawn district maps that will be discussed during the hearings here: https://vote-nevada.news/Redistricting-Maps

Lastly, due to a scheduling issue, our CASA representative will be unable to attend our November 20th meeting, so we are canceling the meeting. So, please plan to spend more time at the Native American Holiday Market.

HolidayMarket21

Let me know if you have any redistricting questions and thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is now qualified to receive donations through Facebook fundraisers.

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

Vote Nevada Update 11/10/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

We have maps! Our legislative majority released congressional and legislative redistricting maps, which you can view here in the MyDistricting Nevada Mapping tool: https://vote-nevada.news/Redistricting-Maps

You can read an evaluation of the maps here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-2022-maps/nevada/

You can read an evaluation of the maps here: https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2021/11/10/democrats-look-to-improve-position-in-congressional-swing-districts/

You can read an evaluation of the maps here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/redistricting-proposed-maps-shore-up-democratic-advantage-in-nevada

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is aware that our maps are now available, so we will hopefully receive their map scores before the special session.  The Princeton Redistricting Report Card page, where you can access our report card when it posts, is here: https://gerrymander.princeton.edu/redistricting-report-card/

On the special session, the Governor has not issued a proclamation calling for a special session yet, but reporters with various publications have stated that the session will be this weekend.  As soon as we have a proclamation, I will send out that information.

We have a Vote Nevada meeting on November 20th with a representative of CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, 9 to 10:30 am, via Zoom, RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/CASA-Program-RSVP

And after our meeting you can visit the Native American Holiday Market, 11/20/2021, 9 am to 5 pm, at the College of Southern Nevada Charleston Campus in the Student Union Auditorium.  The flyer is below and here is a campus map: https://www.csn.edu/charleston-map

HolidayMarket21

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is now qualified to receive donations through Facebook fundraisers.

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here