Fair Maps Nevada PAC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on May 6, 2020, in federal district court to protect our and voters’ constitutional rights. The Nevada Constitution includes a right to circulate an initiative petition and a right for voters to vote for or against ballot questions under Article 19, Section 2(1) and Article 2, Section 1. While the U.S. Constitution protects the right to free speech and association and the right to vote and due process through the 1st and 14th amendments.
Due to the Governor’s emergency order to ‘stay at home’ and to practice social distancing when engaged in essential activities, which has now been extended to May 15th, we continue to be unable to circulate our amendment and voters are unable to sign our petition to qualify for the November ballot.
We are, therefore, seeking a legal remedy that provides a secure, reliable, and virtual method to gather signatures as well as for a deadline extension to submit signatures for verification sufficient to replace time lost due to the state of emergency. In both requests we ask for assistance that aligns with keeping Nevadans safe from COVID-19.
In a recent ruling on the Secretary of State’s power to interpret Nevada Revised Statutes to protect constitutional rights and the public’s health, Federal District Court Judge Miranda Du wrote that Secretary Cegavske was well within her sphere of power to enact regulations to carry out election laws for our upcoming primary election. Writing about the Secretary’s decision to move to an all-mail-in voting plan, Judge Du wrote:
The Nevada Legislature has authorized the Secretary to enact voting regulations under NRS § 293.124. The section provides:
1. The Secretary of State shall serve as the Chief Officer of Elections for this State. As Chief Officer, the Secretary of State is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the provisions of title 24 of NRS and all other provisions of state and federal law relating to elections in this State.
2. The Secretary of State shall adopt such regulations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of [the election laws under Title 24—NRS Chapters 293–306].
Nevada Revised Statutes also places ballot questions under the authority of the Secretary of State through Title 24, Chapter 295.
We are confident the court will recognize and protect our right to circulate a petition and voters’ right to enact or reject our ballot question in these extraordinary and very dangerous times. With redistricting coming in 2021, our redistricting reform amendment is timely, and it is vitally important that every Nevadan has the opportunity to debate, consider, and vote on the issue.
You can read our court motion here:
Fair Maps Nevada PAC et al v. Cegavske et al Motion