For heaven's sake, candidates find state restricts nicknames


The one-person "Occupy" movement will not be allowed to squat on Nevada's ballot.

And there will be no "WarNoMo" either.

You can blame "God Almighty." That's the alias of a Democratic candidate who ran in 1992 for the U.S. Senate, which eventually led to passage of a Nevada law banning ballot nicknames that indicate any political, economic, social or religious view or affiliation.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Ross Miller told two U.S. Senate candidates that their nicknames won't be allowed on the 2012 ballot because they violate the law.

Nancy "Occupy" Price refused to budge from her conviction that she should be allowed to associate herself with Occupy Wall Street on the ballot. The movement began last fall as a protest against social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the influence of corporations on government.

"My understanding is you can call yourself whatever you want in terms of who you are," said Price, a Democrat. "Yeah, I know what they said, but I'm going to research it. I bet there's a counter law."

Ed "WarNoMo" Hamilton called the law ridiculous.

"By that definition, nothing will qualify," Hamilton said. "They've had all kinds of nicknames before. In Laughlin, there was a constable whose nickname was Batman."

Dave "Batman" Thompson lost in 2010.

Hamilton said he was going to choose a new nickname, something he has done each time he has been on the ballot as a perennial Don Quixote candidate tilting at political windmills. In 2010, he ran as a Democrat for the Senate as Ed "Mr. Clean" Hamilton. This time, he is running as a Republican.

"It's my right to pick a nickname," said Hamilton, who's mulling alternatives. "I was going to pick 'Revolution,' but that would be disqualified, right? Maybe 'Dove' for peace as opposed to 'Hawk.' "

According to the 2003 law, NRS 293.2565, the name of a candidate printed on a ballot may be the given name and surname or a contraction or familiar form of their given name.

Thus, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, the top Democratic candidate in the Senate race, can use "Shelley" instead of "Rochelle," her given name, on the ballot.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, the Republican seeking to retain his seat, has no nickname issue.

Candidates must put nicknames "in quotation marks" before surnames, under the law.

"A nickname must not indicate any political, economic, social or religious view or affiliation and must not be the name of any person, living or dead, whose reputation is known on a statewide, nationwide or worldwide basis, or in any other manner deceive a voter regarding the person or principles for which he or she is voting," according to the law.

Hamilton initially tried to use the nickname "TheRonPawl" to take advantage of the popularity among some Nevadans of GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

The secretary of state made him change his first choice and now has outlawed his second.

"It could be political and I'm not correct," Hamilton said.

Price, who lost to Heller in a congressional race in 2010, said she would give up on the idea of a nickname if she can't use "Occupy" as she battles against political incumbents.

"I'll just run as Nancy Price," she said. "I don't have anything else."

Not even "God Almighty" fought the power and won. He received 1,869 votes in the 1992 Democratic primary, which U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., won with 64,828 votes. "God Almighty" ran fifth in a field of five, including, "None of these candidates," which won 4,429 votes.

Reid, as Senate majority leader one of the most powerful men in Washington and in Nevada history, has been known to joke about the time he beat God in an election.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.

 

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