News 3 Las Vegas reports that the ballot initiative to bring open primaries and ranked choice voting was approved by the Secretary of State, Barbara Cegavske, and will appear on the November 2022 ballot. Currently, Alaska and Maine are the only two states that use ranked choice voting in their elections.
The ballot initiative to bring open primaries and ranked choice voting to Nevada was approved by @NVSOS today. A rep from the Nevada Voters First PAC confirmed it with me. Enough signatures were verified to get it on the November ballot. @News3LV https://t.co/Q4bGXFF6We pic.twitter.com/B9NAYqjvXE
— Brett Forrest (@brettforrest89) July 21, 2022
According to the report:
The initiative, if approved, would eliminate closed primary races for partisan offices in the state, such as governor, attorney general and congressional seats.
Instead, voters could cast a primary ballot for any candidate, regardless of political party affiliation. The top five vote-getters would advance to the general election.
The initiative also proposes using a ranked-choice voting system in the general election.
Under that system, voters would mark candidates by order of preference. If a candidate gets a majority of first-preference votes, they would be elected to office.
If not, the candidate with the fewest number of first-preference votes would be eliminated, and their votes would be redistributed based on their voters’ second preferences. The process would continue until there is a candidate with a majority.
Nevada is the only state that requires that a citizen-initiated amendment be voted on twice. For legislatively referred constitutional amendments, voter approval is required at one election after it is put on the ballot through approval by the legislature in two sessions.
Back in November, The Globe reported on this initiative and revealed the people and money behind this effort to transform the electoral system in Nevada:
The initiative — which would need to be passed in subsequent elections to take effect — would require state lawmakers to implement the new ranked-choice system no later than July 1, 2025, meaning it would take effect by the 2026 election,” the Nevada Independent reports, and if adopted would require an amendment to the state constitution.
In a press statement, prominent Las Vegas attorney and Democratic donor, Todd Bice said the measure will be backed by the Institute for Political Innovation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded last year by Katherine M. Gehl, an author, philanthropist and former CEO of a Wisconsin-based high-tech food-manufacturing company.
Bice is currently the only individual listed on the petition notice and the affiliated political action committee (Nevada Voters First), but the group said it would be announcing members of a supportive, bipartisan coalition in the coming weeks. Much of the language of the initiative is based on the organization’s “Final-Five Voting” concept — which it says is not “synonymous” with typical ranked-choice voting systems. The initiative would amend the state Constitution to require that most high-profile partisan elections in Nevada move to open primaries with a ranked-choice voting system in place for the general election. Those races notably would exclude the presidential race, but include U.S. Senate and House seats, statewide office elections — governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and controller — as well as legislative races.”
In a statement, the group said it was filing the initiative to ‘address the deficiencies of the primary election system’ and attempts to give the growing cohort of nonpartisan voters a greater say in state elections.’
‘With more than 35 percent of Nevada voters unable to vote in a primary because they are registered as independent or non-partisan, and many more feeling under-represented by their respective party, it is clear that this antiquated system needs to change,’ the group said in a statement.”
Taking a deeper dive into the Institute for Political Innovation (IPI), their advisory board and and co-chairs are largely Democratic donors and activists. Founder and millionaire Katherine M Gehl has donated predominantly to Democratic candidates and once donated a small amount to the Nevada Democratic party. Her sister, JoJo Neumann, is listed as a cochair and a consultant.
Billionaire Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn is also co chair. Famous not only for founding LinkedIn, but as a Democratic mega-donor from his seven figure donations and related investments to ensure Democrats get elected, like Doug Jones in Alabama.
Once again, out-of-state millionaires and billionaires, who predominately back Nevada Democrats, are playing politics in a swing state to transform Nevada elections. Under the guise of the pandemic, and without any Republican support, the Democratic legislative majority previously transformed Nevada elections during an emergency session in 2020. That legislation, signed by Governor Steve Sisolak, implemented universal mail in voting, unlimited ballot harvesting, and same day voting and registration in Nevada.
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