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Group looking to recall Sisolak suing for more time

Updated May 11, 2020 - 8:52 pm

The group attempting to recall Gov. Steve Sisolak says that the coronavirus outbreak and the governor’s emergency directives have made it “impossible” for them to gather the needed signatures for their effort, and have filed a lawsuit asking for more time

The group, Fight For Nevada, filed a lawsuit Monday against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske in federal court in Las Vegas, asking for an extension of time to gather signatures that is equal to the length of the state of emergency directive Sisolak issued on March 12, which remains in effect two months later.

The group began circulating the petition in mid-February, and the deadline to submit the 243,995 signatures to qualify the recall effort of the governor is May 14. The group had gathered 15,892 signatures as of the halfway mark of the 90-day signature gathering period, according to the secretary of state’s office.

In the complaint, the group argued that the governor’s directives, including the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people, “have made the already arduous path of obtaining the necessary signatures for a recall petition now impossible.”

They said that while the recall group has attempted to obtain signatures using remote methods, “these efforts require the large, in-person gatherings that are now prohibited.”

Despite the governor’s ban on gatherings, Fight for Nevada has been helping organize protests in Carson City and other cities across the state in recent weeks to gather signatures and also rail against the governor’s shutdown orders.

“At best, continued attempts to obtain signatures is overly burdensome, and at worst it is in direct conflict with directives from everyone in the public health community, which only risks making a very serious situation worse and specifically exposes Plaintiff’s volunteers to the additional dangers,” the lawsuit reads.

Angela Blass, president of Fight for Nevada, told the Review-Journal at one of the demonstrations on April 25 that she wasn’t worried about people transmitting the virus during the protests.

The complaint said that the group had asked the secretary of state’s office several times for an extension to the deadline to submit signatures, but were told that no extension would be granted.

Without intervention by the court, the group would not be able to gather the needed signatures by the Thursday deadline, the complaint said, which “will violate their constitutional rights to free speech and free association.”

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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