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.
“Plaintiffs’ arguments offer inadequate basis for this court to conclude that Nevada’s 37-year-old statute providing for ‘None of these candidates’ ballots is contrary to the Constitution or to any federal statute,” Reinhardt wrote. “A failure to stay forthwith any injunction issued by the district court would accordingly result in irreparable injury to the state of Nevada and its citizens, and would be directly contrary to the public interest,” he added.
Election officials need to start printing ballots by Sept. 7, yet Jones intentionally dragged his feet on the issue to mire an appeal, the opinion states. “Although the district judge acknowledged his awareness of these facts, he has deliberately attempted to avoid entering any order that would allow an appeal before that date,” Reinhardt wrote. “His dilatory tactics appear to serve no purpose other than to seek to prevent the state from taking an appeal of his decision before it must print the ballots.”
Full Article: Courthouse News Service.