Author Archives: Sondra Cosgrove

About Sondra Cosgrove

Executive Director Vote Nevada

Vote Nevada Update 1/15/2022

Vote Nevada supporters,

If you haven’t heard of Native American hip hop artist Supaman and have a moment or two to listen to his new album, it is well worth the time: https://www.supamanhiphop.net/

We had a good discussion today about the 2022 ballot questions.  You can view our Ballot Question meeting here: https://vote-nevada.news/Ballot-Questions-2022

As of right now, we have two constitutional amendments and one statutory ballot petition that need signatures to qualify.  The constitutional amendments will go on the 2022 ballot if they qualify and then will need to pass a second time in 2024. 

The statutory ballot petition will go into the 2023 legislative session as a bill if it qualifies.  If the legislature does not approve the ballot petition within the first 40 days, the Secretary of State will put it on the 2024 ballot for voters to consider.

The first constitutional amendment will create an open primary, with the top five candidates in the partisan races advancing to the general election.  In the general election, voters will have the ability to rank up to five candidates in those races.  The winner must have 50 percent plus 1 to win.  This is a brief explanation of the process: https://vote-nevada.news/Brief-Final-Five-Explanation

The second constitutional amendment is the Independent Redistricting Commission, which will remove the redistricting process from our legislature in 2031.  This will put redistricting under our open meeting law and will allow the public to participate in the entire process. Today’s meeting included an explanation of the Fair Maps process: https://vote-nevada.news/Ballot-Questions-2022

The statutory ballot petition changes state law to allow municipalities to exit from their county school districts and to create a separate municipal school district.  This petition was just recently posted; you can read it through the link below. We will have a separate meeting on this petition as soon as I can secure a speaker.

We will also have three ballot questions on the 2022 ballot that are already qualified through the legislative process.  One is an Equal Rights Amendment for our state constitution.  https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/7076/Overview

One will increase the minimum wage in our state constitution: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/7068/Text 

And one will change Henderson City Council elections from at-large to ward-voting.  Only voters in Henderson will vote on this initiative: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6509/Text

All the information reviewed during today’s meeting is now on the Vote Nevada Blog, here: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/2022-ballot-questions/

Here is each ballot petition:

https://vote-nevada.news/Final-Five-Open-Primary

https://vote-nevada.news/Fair-Maps-Nevada-Redistricting-Commission

https://vote-nevada.news/Creating-New-School-Districts

Here is a detailed explanation of the signature-gathering process:

https://vote-nevada.news/Ballot-Question-Signature-Gathering-Rules

If you are interested in gathering signatures for Final Five or Fair Maps, you can contact Cesar Marquez at: zarmarquez@gmail.com

Upcoming meetings:

On January 18th, 6 to 7 pm, via Zoom, our Vote Nevada Behavioral and Mental Health Committee is hosting Captain Timothy Hatchett who is the new commander at the Bolden Area substation in the Historic Westside.

Captain Hatchett has extensive experience with programs that keep community members suffering from mental health issues out of the criminal justice system.  This meeting is open to anyone, so you can join us by RSVPing here: https://vote-nevada.news/Captain-Hatchett

Our Vote Nevada regular meeting, on January 22nd, from 9 to 10:30 am, via Zoom, will focus on issue advocacy strategies for this legislative interim session as well as the process for building the Governor’s budget, which also happens during the spring.  You can RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Advocacy

On January 28th, 3 to 5 pm, via Webex, you can attend the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights follow-up meeting on recommendations from the Impact of Remote Learning on Education Equity report. You can RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Advisory-Committee-Meeting and you can view the report here: https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021-11/nv-sac-remote-learning-and-equity-in-education-report.pdf

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 1/7/2022

Vote Nevada Supporters,

I want to update you on some important news and meetings:

I was on KNPR State of Nevada on Wednesday with Warren Hardy and Steve Sebelius to discuss the January 6th anniversary.  You can listen to our discussion here: https://knpr.org/knpr/2022-01/year-nevada-seeks-perspective-events-jan-6  Warren and I are creating a podcast to discuss ways we can keep civility in civics, so stay tuned.

District Court Judge Wilson ruled yesterday in the legal challenge filed against the proposed ballot initiative to create a top five open primary with rank choice voting.  https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/proposed-ballot-question-would-create-open-primaries-ranked-choice-voting

Judge Wilson ruled against the challenge on all counts.  You can read a summary of the ruling and the actual order here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/judge-rules-in-favor-of-ballot-measure-for-open-primaries-ranked-choice-voting

Judge Wilson’s first statement in the order is a reminder that our state constitution includes a right for Nevadans to propose, debate, and vote on ballot petitions and that right is on par with our legislature to propose constitutional amendments and policies.  The judge then states that it is his duty to protect that constitutionally established right.

The plaintiff’s attorneys can appeal the ruling within 30 days based on an argument that Judge Wilson did not properly apply the laws that govern ballot questions. 

The Fair Maps Nevada redistricting reform ballot question that proposes to create an independent redistricting commission did not draw a legal challenge.  So, we will be organizing the fundraising and signature-gathering efforts for that initiative. https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2021/12/15/redistricting-commission-proposal-resurrected-aiming-for-2022-ballot/  

Ballot Question Information Meeting: To learn more about the two ballot questions, Vote Nevada is hosting a ballot question meeting on January 15th, from 9 to 10:30 am, via Zoom.  You can RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Ballot-Question-Review  We will review the ballot questions and the signature-gathering process.

On January 18th, 6 to 7 pm, via Zoom, our Vote Nevada Behavioral and Mental Health Committee is hosting Captain Timothy Hatchett who is the new commander at the Bolden Area substation in the Historic Westside.

Captain Hatchett has extensive experience with programs that keep community members suffering from mental health issues out of the criminal justice system.  This meeting is open to anyone, so you can join us by RSVPing here: https://vote-nevada.news/Captain-Hatchett

Our Vote Nevada regular meeting, on January 22nd, from 9 to 10:30 am, via Zoom, will focus on issue advocacy strategies for this legislative interim session as well as the process for building the Governor’s budget, which also happens during the spring.  You can RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Advocacy

On January 28th, 3 to 5 pm, via Webex, you can attend the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights follow-up meeting on recommendations from the Impact of Remote Learning on Education Equity report. You can RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Advisory-Committee-Meeting and you can view the report here: https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021-11/nv-sac-remote-learning-and-equity-in-education-report.pdf

Lastly, a diverse coalition is coming together to address some long-standing education issues, such as the lack of wraparound services in our schools.  To attend the organizing meeting for this Unity Coalition on February 12th, 10 am to noon, via Zoom, RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Unity-Coalition

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 12/25/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

I hope you are all okay and feel supported during these times of love and fear.  As we once again face exponentially increasing rates of COVID-19 infections, many holiday plans were disrupted; but please know that we still have the power to support each other. 

If you need a little more help, please visit Nevada’s affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for more resources: https://naminevada.org/  The brain is a part of the body, just like the stomach and the heart, and sometimes it needs care just the same.

If you are looking for some activities to help pass the time, the National Constitution Center has recordings of their fall Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction series available here: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/learning-material/slavery-the-civil-war-and-reconstruction

And you can sign-up for a slew of classes on the Supreme Court, Civil Rights, and the Constitution in January and February.  You can review the offerings here: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/online-civic-learning-opportunities/upcoming-scholar-exchanges

For our election nerds, Deputy Secretary of State Mark Wlaschin released notices of workshops to review implementing regulations for the election changes passed in the 2021 legislative session. Most of these changes came in AB321, which you can review here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7842/Overview

You can review the regulations and the instructions for providing feedback here:

Jan. 19th workshop: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7842/Overview

Jan. 20th workshop: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showpublisheddocument/9993/637757801413870000

Jan. 21st workshop: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showpublisheddocument/9995/637757801416370000

Our next Vote Nevada meeting is January 22nd, from 9 to 10:30 am, via Zoom.  We will review issue advocacy strategies for the interim legislative committees and the election cycle.  This will include a review of the Governor’s budget building process, which also happens in the spring.  RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Advocacy

On January 28th, from 3 to 5 pm, via Webex, the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is hosting a follow-up meeting to review progress on the recommendations from the committee’s Impact of Remote Learning on Equity in Education report. 

You can RSVP to attend here https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Advisory-Committee-Meeting and you can read the report and recommendations here https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021-11/nv-sac-remote-learning-and-equity-in-education-report.pdf   It is vitally important that we advocate for implementing these recommendations before the 2023 legislative session.

Finally, our Vote Nevada Behavioral and Mental Health Committee has been working with the Las Vegas Alliance with Black School Educators on drafting a possible statutory ballot question to ensure every child has access to vital wrap-around services.  As we know, our children need mental health services now more than ever, but they also need career and leadership development, as well as family supportive services. 

We started to addresses these needs in the 2019 legislative session with SB89, which came from Governor Sandoval’s Task Force on School Safety’s recommendations. SB89 was not fully funded in 2019, however, and there was no effort to provide any additional funding in 2021, so we are discussing using the statutory ballot initiative process to make these services a priority in the 2023 legislative session. 

If the Governor and legislative leadership decide to not act on the initiative, it will go on the ballot for voters to decide in 2024.

This does not mean that we are proposing raising taxes.  We are reviewing a variety of existing programs, services, and funding sources that can support a standard package of wrap-around services in every school.

It is time to invest in the kinds of early interventions and preventative care that will address mental well-being and promote healthy development for every child.  Please save February 12th in the morning for a possible meeting to discuss this initiative as well as other community oriented solutions for helping our children.

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 12/11/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

This past week the Economic Forum met to review the state’s economic health.  The commissioners heard a variety of presentations ranging from gaming tax revenue to employment trends.  You can review the presentations and data as well as click on the camera icon to view the meeting recording here: https://vote-nevada.news/Economic-Forum

You can read a summary of the meeting here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/InterimCommittee/REL/Interim2021/Committee/1906/Meetings

The Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has scheduled a follow-up meeting for stakeholders and the public to provide additional information on recommendations in the Impact of Remote Learning on Education Equity report, which you can read here: https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021-11/nv-sac-remote-learning-and-equity-in-education-report.pdf

The meeting is on January 28, 2022, via WebEx, from 3 to 5 pm.  You can RSVP to attend the meeting here: https://vote-nevada.news/NV-Advisory-Committee-Meeting

 

Our next Vote Nevada meeting is January 22, 2022, via Zoom, 9-10:30 am.  The topic is Advocacy During the Interim and Election Cycle.  We will review how to engage with the interim legislative committees as well as create opportunities to speak to candidates for office about important issues.  You can RSVP here: https://vote-nevada.news/Advocacy

 

A lawsuit has been filed against the open primary ballot question.  You can read the lawsuit and case summary here https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/lawsuit-seeks-to-block-proposed-open-primary-ranked-choice-ballot-initiative

Here’s a summary and critique of the lawsuit.  The lawsuit argues three main points:

  1. The petition violates the single-subject rule.  The plaintiffs argue that allowing up to five candidates to advance from the primary to the general election for congressional, constitutional, and legislative races and then to use ranked-choice voting to determine which candidates win in those elections are two separate processes that have no connection and so cannot be put together in one ballot question.  

One counterargument is that the ballot question addresses the singular election process, which includes various parts, such as candidate filing, campaign practices, a primary election, and a general election.  Because the various parts are connected, changing one can necessitate changing another to ensure the integrity of the whole.  Each part of the singular election process is covered under one title of Nevada Revised Statute, Title 24, and is under the jurisdiction of one office of state government, the Secretary of State’s Office.  

  1. The petition creates an unfunded mandate.  The plaintiffs argue that the proposed changes will necessitate new voting machines and expensive software to manage ranked-choice voting.  There are no references to affirming testimony from Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Mark Wlaschin to document this claim, however.  Our current voting machines were purchased in 2017, and so are relatively new, and the voting machine software currently does allow a voter to select more than one candidate in each race.  I know this because I chair the Nevada Advisory Committee on Participatory Democracy.

Whether we will need new tabulation software for the voting machines or for the paper ballots is a question for the Secretary of State’s Office to determine.

That determination is part of the ballot question process.  The Secretary of State’s Office requests that the Legislative Counsel Bureau determine if a ballot question will require additional state funding.  This process is not yet completed as you can see here: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/elections/2022-petitions

The ballot question is also a constitutional amendment and no part of the Nevada Constitution includes implementation costs.  If Nevadans put this new election process into the constitution, the Governor and legislators, who swear an oath to uphold the Nevada Constitution, will be obligated to fund it. If this does not happen, lawsuits are possible to remove derelict officials from office.

Also, in 2021, in Assembly Bill 126, the Democratic majority in the Nevada legislature approved a presidential preference primary for 2024 with a future fiscal note of over $5 million dollars.  Expanding voting rights and improving voter turnout were the rationales for approving this election change without providing a funding mechanism.  You can read the fiscal note here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/81st2021/FiscalNotes/779.pdf and a summary of the bill here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7448/Overview

  1. The description of effect is misleading.  The plaintiffs argue that the ballot question summary is misleading.  Based on our experience with the Fair Maps Nevada ballot petition, it is possible for the attorney representing the ballot question petitioners to ask the judge to request that the plaintiffs re-write the summary to make it more accurate and clear.

Beyond the three main complaints, the lawsuit includes quite a few assertions that the open primary and ranked-choice voting proposal is radical, complicated, and extreme.  It is disconcerting that lawyers associated with the Democratic Party in Nevada would use this type of negative election rhetoric considering how many election processes they have changed since the 2020 election. 

We dramatically changed our election process, including sending every registered voter a mail-in ballot, in 2020, and then the Democratic legislative majority voted to make all those changes permanent through Assembly Bill 321 in the 2021 legislative session.  All these changes were described as necessary to expand and protect voting rights.  Yet, when the people also propose to expand voting rights for nonpartisan and independent voters, only now we have gone too far?

The brief states that training election workers and voters on using ranked-choice voting will be insurmountable, yet we adopted a complete mail-in ballot process and educated the public about that change within a few months of the 2020 primary election due to the pandemic. And we have been told that the cost to continue this mail-in ballot process is necessary to expand and protect voter rights.

One election process that has not recently changed is our current practice of allowing any eligible Nevadan to file to run for any race (that does not have necessary qualifications, or is President or Vice President) as an independent candidate (nonpartisan) by merely submitting 250 valid signatures of registered voters for statewide races, or 100 valid signatures from registered voters for non-statewide races, plus any filing forms and fees.

Right now, unlimited numbers of independent (nonpartisan) candidates can run for almost all races and have their names appear on the general election ballot.  If this happens and we merely elect the candidates with the highest number of votes, theoretically, we could elect people who fall widely short of being consensus winners. Therefore, the open primary ballot petition is not making a dramatic change to current law in how many candidates can appear on the general election ballot it is just ensuring we are electing consensus winners. Here is the candidate guide for independent (nonpartisan) candidates: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showpublisheddocument?id=9605

And in the last presidential caucus in 2020, the Nevada Democratic Party used ranked-choice voting to apply a fair method for determining the true consensus candidate for their presidential nominee.  Not once did anyone in the Democratic leadership complain publicly about voters being confused by the process. If using ranked-choice voting in Nevada’s Democratic presidential caucus was good and proper, it should be equally good and proper for our general elections.

The brief complains that the ballot petition denies political parties their right to use the primary process to endorse candidates.  There is no established right to use a publicly-funded election process to accomplish a private political party function.  If either or both political parties would like to endorse a candidate, they can certainly run private caucuses to nominate or endorse preferred candidates. 

Related to this, the brief argues that if anyone can run for office as a Democrat or Republican in the general election without a party’s endorsement, voters will not know if the candidate’s views align with their chosen political identifier.  Vote Nevada and many other civic organizations publish voter guides and host candidate meet and greets before the general election to help voters research the candidates.  Many private organizations also endorse candidates after lengthy interview processes.  So, voters can easily do research about candidates and speak directly to them before voting.

The brief is silent on the fact that in an extraordinary and fundamental shift in our election process, due to a law passed in 2015, we now elect candidates in our closed primaries.  The law states that if only one party runs candidates for a partisan office, only the primary election winner moves forward to the general election ballot.  With regularly low primary voter turnout, we are now electing candidates to office based on a small sample of just one political party. 

The starkest example of this occurred in 2018 and could occur again in 2022 with the Clark County District Attorney’s race.  Because only two Democrats ran for Clark County D.A. in 2018, only Democrats who turned out in the primary decided for all Clark County residents that Steve Wolfson would be the District Attorney. Forcing voters to affiliate with a political party to have a say in important races like District Attorney is very concerning.

Doug Goodman from Sparks has been working on bringing ranked-choice voting to Nevada since 2013, so he has a wealth of information about the process on his website, including some court cases that refute some of what is argued in this lawsuit: https://nevadansforelectionreform.org/

Fair Vote provides additional information about how ranked-choice voting works: https://www.fairvote.org/

Doug also did a Zoom presentation for our Vote Nevada Civics Festival this summer on ranked-choice voting, you can watch it here: https://vote-nevada.news/Goodman-Open-Primary-RCV

I will send more information when 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 11/26/2021

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