Nevadans can pick “none of the above” on Election Day, the 9th Circuit ruled while blasting a federal judge who tried to delay the appeal. The ruling marks a setback for Republicans who hoped to remove the unique option so that dissatisfied voters would pick Mitt Romney if forced to make a choice. Eleven voters from all parties, including former Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury and the state’s Republican Party Secretary James DeGraffenreid, sued Nevada and its secretary of state in June. The Republican National Committee sought to remove the option that has been on all Nevada ballots since 1976. Nevada is the only state to offer such an option. U.S. District Judge Robert Jones ruled in August that the state’s “none of these candidates” ballot option is unconstitutional and must be removed. But a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit entered an immediate stay late Tuesday. On Wednesday, the court amended the three-page order and the lengthy concurring opinion from Judge Stephen Reinhardt.
A quirky Nevada law that Republicans feared could siphon votes from a disgruntled electorate and sway the outcome of close presidential and U.S. Senate races in the state was struck down Wednesday by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Robert Jones said the state’s decades-old ballot alternative of “none of the above” was unconstitutional because votes for “none” don’t count in the final tallies that determine winners. The ruling came at the end of a lively hearing where the judge challenged both sides in the legal arguments with hypothetical questions and ramifications of possible rulings he was considering. In the end, he struck the option down altogether for both federal and statewide races, and refused to grant a stay while his decision is appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Secretary of State Ross Miller said his office would pursue “an immediate and expedited appeal to protect the long-standing public interest of the ‘none of these candidates’ option.”
Americans for Prosperity spent tens of millions of dollars on the 2010 election and will spend tens of millions more this year to see conservative advocates of limited government elected — all without revealing any of its contributors. Taking advantage of a complex web of federal laws, the group, founded and financed by billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, has successfully kept its donors secret. But when AFP decided to wade into a Nevada Senate primary in June, it might have triggered a state law that could open its donor list to the public. In a complaint filed July 19, the Nevada Democratic Party asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to investigate whether the nonprofit organization must report the contributions it received to fund mailers attacking state Senate candidate Kelvin Atkinson, a Democratic assemblyman from North Las Vegas.
President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney must face down a dubious and slippery opponent in Nevada this November. The mystery foe cannot be tamed with television ads and never breaks a campaign pledge. Its name is “none of these candidates.” Nevada is the only state in the nation to offer voters the quirky ballot choice, and for more than three decades, statewide candidates here have had to contend with it. But this year, nervous Republicans have filed a federal lawsuit to try to oust “none” from the ballot. They worry that “none” could siphon away a sufficient number of anti-Obama voters from Romney to throw the state to the president. And because the Silver State’s six electoral votes are some of the most hotly contested in the nation, Republicans don’t want to leave anything to chance.
Nevada: Candidates for Presidential Elector in Nevada File Lawsuit to Remove “None of the Above” from November 2012 Ballot | Ballot Access News
On June 8, two Republican nominees for presidential elector from Nevada filed a federal lawsuit, asking that “None of the Above” be removed from the November 2012 ballot and future years. The case is Townley v State of Nevada, 3:12-cv-00310. Here is the 16-page complaint. Besides the elector candidates, the complaint lists nine voter plaintiffs. Starting in 1976, Nevada has printed “none of the above” on primary and general election ballots, but only for statewide office. The lawsuit argues that because a vote for “None of the above” has no legal effect, the voters who vote for “None of the above” are being harmed, because their vote has no effect. The complaint says if a victory by “None of the above” had any legal consequences, then it would be constitutional.
Two federal lawsuits challenging the way Nevada manages its voting processes were filed on the eve of the state’s primary. Civil rights groups claim the state violates the National Voter Registration Act by not helping low-income voters register to participate. In the second complaint, voters challenged Nevada’s unique rule allowing for a “none-of-the-above” vote. Nevada reported a turnout of about 20 percent of registered voters for its Tuesday primary. In the first lawsuit, the National Council of La Raza and Las Vegas and Reno-Sparks branches of the NAACP claim Secretary of State Ross Miller and the state’s director of Health and Human Services fail to offer voting assistance at public assistance offices, as required by the National Voter Registration Act.
As customers entered Mario’s Westside Market on a recent Friday afternoon, they might not have noticed the nondescript table and its occupants sitting outside. There were no signs or group logos, just papers impeccably stacked on a table beside a pile of pens. Nearby, a neatly dressed Antoinette Banks, 42, sat in a folding chair next to her friend, watching streams of people come and go from the neighborhood store on Martin Luther King Boulevard. “How are you doing?” Banks asked those nearing the door, catching their attention. “Are you registered to vote?”
A special Saturday night Republican caucus here intended to accommodate Orthodox Jews who could not vote before sundown became the scene of controversy and confrontation after caucusgoers were told that to be admitted they had to sign a legal declaration under penalty of perjury that they could not attend their daytime caucus because of “my religious beliefs.” A one-stop destination for the latest political news — from The Times and other top sources. Plus opinion, polls, campaign data and video. Ballots were placed in boxes before they were counted on stage during a special caucus at the Adelson Educational Campus.
The biggest loser in Nevada’s Republican caucuses? The state’s feckless GOP. Unable to control how its county parties count and report results, state Republicans were scrambling Sunday to explain why, almost 24 hours after most caucuses ended, the votes still have not been counted. Here in Clark County, home to two-thirds of the state’s population, officials counted ballots, by hand, until 4 a.m. before calling it a night. Counting resumed again at 9 a.m. By 11 a.m. local time Sunday, only half of the county’s ballots had been counted. “About midway through the night I said, ‘This is ludicrous,’” state GOP Chairman Amy Tarkanian said Sunday morning. “So I sent my state party people down there, including my husband, and said, ‘Go help them count, this is crazy.’”
A Republican caucus event timed to accommodate observant Jews who wouldn’t break Sabbath devolved into a fracas about religion and politics and made for a feisty conclusion to Nevada’s presidential nominating process. Hundreds of people crowded into the Adelson Educational Campus in Summerlin witnessed repeated clashes between local Republican party officials and would-be caucus-goers who resented being required to affirm their religious beliefs before being allowed to participate. The disputes overshadowed the intent of the caucus to choose a Republican nominee for president, especially since former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had already been declared the winner in Nevada before the evening event started.
Imagine this: You’re the Super Bowl host city, and you’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get the big game in your town. Now everyone’s watching as the game comes to an end, and you can’t get the scoreboard to work. Suddenly no one’s sure who’s ahead or how much time is left to play. That nightmare scenario probably could not happen. But we have seen some highly improbable events lately that embarrassed the host states in the presidential nominating process. Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn resigned this week, taking the hit for the botch that was made of the caucus count in his state last month. Mitt Romney was initially declared the winner, then told he had finished second by 34 votes behind Rick Santorum. But the party admitted it was not really sure, and some votes might be missing. Ouch.
Republican Party officials are trying to figure out how to deal with a “trouble box” of ballots from the presidential caucus Sunday as the count in Nevada’s largest county stretches into its second day. Party officials have confirmed that ballots in multiple precincts exceeded the number of voters who signed in. The “trouble box” also includes ballots on which two candidates were marked and other irregularities. David Gallagher, executive director of the state party, could not confirm or even give a rough estimate of the number of ballots in question. “It’s a small number,” he said.
Today’s Republican caucuses in Nevada differ from primary elections by requiring voters to devote a block of time to make their preferences known in a process that takes more time than just filling out a ballot. There are also some unusual rules set this year by the GOP officials in the state.
Timing: Republican Party officials in each county decide when to hold caucus meetings. In Clark County, home to Las Vegas and 70 percent of state residents, the meetings are at 9 a.m. today – a time that is inconvenient for the city’s taxi drivers, waitresses and other service employees who work on weekends.
When Nevada held its first Republican caucuses in 2008, Philip A. Kantor walked to the library next door to his synagogue. He took in the spectacle, watching others ballot for their chosen candidate. But he could not take part — as an Orthodox Jew, he was forbidden from writing on the Sabbath. Frustrated, he promised himself to prevent a similar setup in the next election. But by the time state party officials announced the date of this year’s caucuses, Mr. Kantor realized that he would be barred again, unless they made special provisions. Mr. Kantor placed several calls to friends and colleagues he knew were influential in G.O.P. circles, including to his longtime friend Sheldon Adelson, a Jewish philanthropist and Republican donor. Within weeks, Mr. Kantor had a meeting with the Clark County party chairman. After considerable back and forth, Mr. Kantor was assured that he and other Orthodox Jews would be welcome during a special caucus Saturday night, hours after others would end.
This was supposed to be the Nevada GOP’s year of redemption, a chance for Republicans to have a prominent role in picking a challenger for President Barack Obama four years after bungling its first attempt to turn the state into a major player in presidential politics. But 2012 has not gone as planned. It’s now anyone’s guess as to how soon a Nevada victor will be declared after Saturday’s caucuses. Voting in all but one caucus – a special, late-evening one for Jewish voters in Clark County that is expected to draw fewer than 300 people – will end by 3 p.m. Pacific time. Most of Nevada’s counties will be through with voting by noon. But the state GOP doesn’t plan to release any results until 5 p.m., which could raise questions about the validity of the count.
Nevada Republicans on Saturday cleared the way for New Hampshire to host the nation’s first GOP presidential primary Jan. 10 and avoid voting during the Christmas shopping season. “We’re happy; we’re relieved; we’re grateful,” New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Wayne MacDonald said after the vote by the Nevada GOP to move its caucuses to Feb. 4.
The spotlight now shifts to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who sets the date and who has considered a December primary to comply with state law. “Now,” Gardner said Saturday, “New Hampshire will make its decision soon based on the schedules of all the other states as required by our law.”
If Gardner puts his stamp on Jan. 10, New Hampshire Republicans would follow Iowa caucus-goers by a week and enjoy an 11-day buffer before South Carolina residents voted on Jan. 21.
Nevada lawmakers have allocated up to $540,000 for the upcoming special election for the 2nd U.S. House District.
The Las Vegas Sun reported last week that the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved reimbursing counties for their election costs. Lawmakers complained about drawing funds from a bank account that’s supposed to meet expenses until 2013.
The state, not the counties, will pay the $539,137 cost of the Sept. 13 special congressional election spawned by disgraced John Ensign’s decision last spring to quit the U.S. Senate. After bickering about the cost Wednesday, members of the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee agreed unanimously to take the money out of their contingency fund, rather than making counties pay for the election.
Secretary of State Ross Miller, the state’s chief election officer, said that the counties had no time to prepare for the special election and that forcing them to cover costs out of their current budgets would pose a hardship. Counties typically pay their own election costs. The election would have cost Clark County about $33,000, according to a June estimate by the elections department.
North Las Vegas refuses to foot the bill for lawsuits Councilman Wade Wagner and former Mayor Mike Montandon filed against the city in June over a new election. Wagner is asking for more than $72,000 in attorney’s fees. Montandon, along with North Las Vegas resident Jay King, claims the city should pay $40,000 for a joint lawsuit that halted a special election in Ward 4.
Wagner won the Ward 4 general election against former Councilman Richard Cherchio by a single vote. The Clark County Elections Department later found one invalid vote. The Council voted to hold a new election in Precinct 4306, where the one invalid vote was cast, which prompted Cherchio to sue the city, joined later by Montandon.
According to court documents, North Las Vegas has filed an opposition to Wagner’s request, stating that the Council had the right to vote for a new election and that Wagner’s attorney, Todd Bice, stated in open court that he was “not getting paid” and was representing him because he “believed in the cause.”
The Board of Examiners today approved a request for more than half a million dollars from a legislative contingency fund to pay the counties for the cost of the Sept. 13 special election in the 2nd Congressional District. The board, made up of Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved the $539,000 request, which will be considered Aug. 31 by the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee.
Miller said the other options to pay for the election were to pass the costs on to the counties or to use a dwindling pool of federal funds, but that the request from the contingency fund is the best choice. Requiring cash-strapped counties to pay the costs could lead to cutting corners, and Miller said it is important to ensure the integrity of the election. Miller said his office made every effort to reduce the expenditures to reasonable levels. Initial estimates put the cost at in excess of $1 million.
A board chaired by the governor voted unanimously Monday to ask the Legislature to cover the $539,137 cost of the special election on Sept. 13 to fill a vacancy in Congress.
Instead of requiring counties to cover election costs, the state Board of Examiners wants the Legislature to reimburse counties out of its $12 million interim contingency fund. The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee will consider the proposal on Aug. 31.
Las Vegas resident Greg Mich’l didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to cast a ballot in the contentious Ward 4 City Council race in North Las Vegas. He first had to register to vote.
As we now know, every vote counted in the race between incumbent Richard Cherchio and challenger Wade Wagner. Wagner defeated Cherchio on June 7 by a single ballot. The outcome was further complicated, Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax has stated in an affidavit, after a vote was cast improperly because of a pollworker’s error. Cherchio has sued to have the election overturned and a new vote ordered.
But it’s Mich’l’s vote that has me intrigued. When I interviewed him recently at his home on Villa Pintura Avenue several miles outside Ward 4, Mich’l admitted he wasn’t up on all the laws when he registered to vote using his brother’s address.
Nevada: North Las Vegas mayor: Ward 4 election challenge has cost city $100,000-plus | Las Vegas Sun
North Las Vegas Major Shari Buck is not happy with the ongoing legal battle for the Ward 4 Council seat occupied by Wade Wagner. She expressed her disappointment in how the election was handled by former councilman Richard Cherchio in a statement Friday.
“It is unfortunate that Richard Cherchio and his team have chosen to pursue phantoms and unresolved emotions by searching for nonexistent ‘problematic’ votes as they prepare to mount a feckless legal challenge. These actions have cost the taxpayers of North Las Vegas over $100,000 so far, which could have been used to mitigate layoffs. That cost continues to rise.”
Financially, the city is in a bind. It still has a $6.1 million gap in its 2012 budget and may have to lay off 35 to 40 non-public safety employees to save about $4.1 million.
The latest twist in a tangled North Las Vegas election tale involves both a union stagehand who voted in the city but doesn’t live there and the mayor’s son. Voter Greg Mich’l, who lives in Las Vegas, admitted Thursday he voted in the North Las Vegas contest between incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio and Wade Wagner, which was decided by a single vote.
Mich’l, 26, said he didn’t know he couldn’t vote in North Las Vegas. “I’m really embarrassed,” he said. “I never vote, and then this happens.”
Meanwhile, Cherchio’s attorney on Thursday said Jordan Buck, Mayor Shari Buck’s 23-year-old-son, might have cast an invalid ballot. “There’s substantial question about whether he has the right to vote here,” Bradley Schrager said. “We are investigating every potential discrepancy.” Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, won the June 7 election with 1,831 votes. Cherchio got 1,830.
The man who voted in a disputed North Las Vegas election — though he is not a resident of the city — may have unwittingly committed a crime. But such cases are rarely prosecuted in Clark County, officials said. Such voting mistakes “probably happen a whole lot but don’t come out,” said Ron Bloxham, a chief deputy district attorney for the county. Prosecution “is rare in comparison to the number of times” such errors likely occur, he said.
Election officials often say no election is perfect, and the North Las Vegas election was no exception. But votes cast in the contest for the City Council’s Ward 4 seat drew unusual scrutiny after Wade Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, beat incumbent Councilman Richard Cherchio, 64, by a single vote.
It took election workers just over two hours on Friday to come to the same conclusion they had on election night. Wade Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, had beaten incumbent North Las Vegas City Councilman Richard Cherchio, 64, by a single vote for the Ward 4 seat.
The result of the afternoon recount, requested by Cherchio, “validates the accuracy” of the June 7 election, said Larry Lomax, Clark County registrar of voters. “Nothing changed,” he said. “Wade Wagner still has one more vote. I’m very confident in the system we use to conduct elections.”
The final tally was again 1,831 votes for Wagner, 1,830 for Cherchio.
Nevada: Secretary of State Issues Emergency Regulation to Fund Special Election | Nevada News Bureau
The state’s chief election official says special measures are needed to ensure proper administration in the upcoming special election.
An emergency regulation prepared by Secretary of State Ross Miller and enacted today will guide the reimbursement of costs incurred by the counties for the September 13 special election for Nevada’s second congressional district. The election is expected to cost Nevada’s 17 counties a total of nearly $1 million.
Nevada: North Las Vegas schedules Friday recount in council race decided by a single vote | ReviewJournal.com
The incumbent North Las Vegas city councilman who lost his seat by a single vote officially requested a recount Tuesday. “With a one-vote margin, we have an obligation to the voters out there to eliminate any discrepancies,” Richard Cherchio said.
Clark County election officials scheduled the recount for 1 p.m. Friday. Cherchio paid $600 for the recount. Wade Wagner, a 48-year-old dentist, defeated Cherchio, 64, by a single vote in the June 7 election. But that was just the beginning of the drama in the Ward 4 race.
Officials soon discovered that an election worker had mistakenly allowed an ineligible voter to cast a ballot in one Ward 4 precinct. The City Council approved a redo of the election in that precinct, but the city was barred from holding a new election by District Judge Elizabeth Gonzales, who also ordered the city to certify the original election results.
One day after Wade Wagner was sworn in as a North Las Vegas city councilman in Ward 4, former Councilman Richard Cherchio has demanded a recount – the latest development in the ongoing dispute. One illegal ballot was cast in Precinct 4306 in the June 7 general election that Wagner won by one vote.
After two lawsuits, several restraining orders and a judge’s ruling that the city must swear in Wagner, Cherchio is moving forward with his last option. Cherchio has requested a recount in precincts 2440, 2500 and 4304. The recount will cost him $600.
The Ward 4 election drama is not over in North Las Vegas. The city will meet at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to certify election results in the contest between Wade Wagner and incumbent Richard Cherchio.
However, a judge issued a temporary restraining order that blocked city leaders from certifying Wagner the winner by one vote.