Nevada’s “none of the above” voting option will be on the November ballot following an emergency stay sought by the secretary of state’s office and granted by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco blocked the injunction Tuesday and had strong words for U.S. District Judge Robert Jones, who last month declared the voting option unconstitutional and struck it from the ballot. One appellate judge accused Jones, chief judge in Nevada, of deliberate foot-dragging by delaying hearings in the case and not issuing a written order in time for state lawyers to appeal before ballots must be printed. “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,” 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote. He concluded, “Such arrogance and assumption of power by one individual is not acceptable in our judicial system.”
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.