Yet another Republican-controlled state is looking to impose a voter ID law just in time for the 2016 elections. GOP state lawmakers in Nevada are readying ID bills for early next year, Secretary of State-Elect Barbara Cegavske told msnbc in an interview. Cegavske said she knew of two separate bills that might end up being merged together. “They’re writing them now,” said Cegavske, a Republican and a supporter of voter ID. “It just depends on how soon they get them in.” Last week, Republicans took full control of state government for the first time since 1929, meaning a voter ID bill would likely have a strong chance of passing. Governor Brian Sandoval has said in the past he supports voter ID. The GOP takeover also has raised fears of a broader rightward shift for the state, on everything from immigration to Stand Your Ground laws.
An initiative petition requiring voter identification, declared invalid by a district judge last week, has been corrected and was refiled with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday. Former U.S. Senate candidate and Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle said the language in the description of the petition has been reworked in line with the suggestions of District Judge Todd Russell. Angle of Reno said she will have 7,000 volunteers ready Saturday to start gathering the required 101,667 signatures of registered voters to put the issue on the November ballot to amend the Nevada Constitution.
Critics of a proposal pushed by conservative activist Sharron Angle to require photo identification to vote in Nevada argued Wednesday that the measure fails to inform voters of possible costs and doesn’t specify the types of identification that would be necessary. Marc Elias, a Washington, D.C., attorney, told Carson City District Judge James Russell that the description of the proposed constitutional amendment on the initiative “is extremely misleading” and falls short of legal mandates. The measure supported by Angle’s political action committee, Our Vote Nevada, would require voters to have photo identification to cast a ballot. It also would require the Legislature to direct government agencies to issue free cards to anyone who does not have valid, government-issued photo identification. After losing Nevada’s 2010 U.S. Senate race to Harry Reid, Angle said she was working on a documentary film to expose nationwide voter fraud. State election officials have said there is no evidence to support the allegations.
A state judge Wednesday rewrote a description that details the effect of a voter photo identification initiative backed by conservative activist Sharron Angle. After two separate hearings on challenges to the initiative’s wording, Carson City District Court Judge James Russell came up with his own language describing what the proposed constitutional amendment would do. Russell added words clarifying acceptable forms of identity to include state of Nevada or federal government documents, as opposed to “certain government-issued documents” included in the original petition that critics said was vague. The judge also tweaked language pertaining to “free” cards that would be issued to people without photo identification and added that the provision carries “a financial cost to the state.” All sides seemed pleased with the outcome. “We don’t think they are really significant changes,” Angle said afterward. Her group will refile the Voter ID Initiative adopting the judge’s language.
A lawsuit has been filed in District Court to block attempts at a petition initiative that would require voters to show identification before casting ballots. The suit, filed in Carson City on Wednesday, is aimed at stopping former U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle and her supporters from gathering signatures to qualify the petition for the 2014 election. It argues the proposed constitutional amendment illegally commands the Legislature to enact the law and intrudes on powers reserved for the legislative branch.
Four years ago, Sharron Angle gave to Democrats the greatest gift they could have asked for in the campaign, assuring through her nomination that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would be re-elected. Now, Angle is about to prove that she is the gift that keeps on giving. Or so some opponents of voter ID would hope as Nevada, inevitably, becomes a focal point of the national, partisan battle over voter suppression laws. In the space of 24 hours, Angle announced her voter ID initiative and ex-Obama campaign grassroots guru Jeremy Bird declared that Nevada is one of four states his new group fighting such tactics will focus on. This is about 2014, but more about 2016. This is a partisan conflagration, as Republicans grow increasingly fearful of increasing minority participation while Democrats want to expand access, preferably to their voters. And this is an issue that no one in elective office or on the ballot should be able to avoid, especially if Angle qualifies her petition and Republican Secretary of State hopeful Barbara Cegavske, the state senator, continues to emphasize “the integrity of elections in Nevada.”