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Nevada voter ID initiative survives, clears Supreme Court

Updated May 29, 2024 - 7:14 pm

The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of a ballot initiative that, if approved, would require the state’s citizens to provide photo identification to vote, bringing the effort one step closer to appearing on the November ballot.

All seven justices voted to uphold a District Court ruling that determined the initiative did not contain an unfunded mandate and that the initiative’s description of effect was sufficient.

“It’s nice that the voters of Nevada are going to get a chance to decide this issue,” said David Gibbs, chairman of Repair the Vote.

But first, Repair the Vote PAC needs to collect and submit more than 100,000 valid signatures by June 26, around 25,000 from each congressional district, for the initiative to appear on the ballot in November.

According to a statement released Friday by the group, more than 70,000 Nevadans have signed the initiative, and the group’s volunteers will finish collecting the remaining signatures needed.

“We’re moving forward,” Gibbs said. “We will get the signatures that we need and turn it in, and get this on the ballot.”

Gibbs had filed the initiative in petition in November to amend the Nevada Constitution by requiring voters to present photo ID at a polling place and by adding an extra identification measure to mail ballots.

In December, with the help of Democratic-linked attorneys, Nevada voter Jennifer Fleischmann with Make the Road Nevada filed a complaint aiming to block the initiative, arguing that the initiative was vague, would require an unfunded government expenditure and that each of the forms of ID that Gibbs lists in the petition would generally require the payment of a fee to a government entity.

Justices found that her argument is a substantive challenge, which the court cannot consider at the pre-election stage, leaving the door open to litigation after the election, if it passes.

They also determined the description of the initiative’s effect is legally sufficient.

“Indeed, the description of effect addresses the primary objective of the Initiative and its intended effects — an amendment to the Nevada Constitution to require voters to present valid identification when voting in person at the polls,” the justices determined.

Gibbs’ proposal offers a list of acceptable identification that would be required at the polls, including a Nevada driver’s license, a passport, tribal or university ID, an ID card issued by a state or U.S. government, or another form of government-issued photo ID that the Legislature may approve.

Gibbs expects there will be future challenges to the initiative, as the Democratic Party is opposed to voter photo ID, but that is an issue for later, he said.

Polls have shown overwhelming support for voter photo ID, Gibbs said.

A Pew Research Center survey, for instance, found bipartisan support for requiring a photo ID to vote. Around 95 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats expressed support, according to the survey.

“To me every American should want to make sure that every person who casts a ballot is an eligible, registered voter,” he said. “Everybody should be in favor of that.”

Voter ID Ruling by Jessica Hill on Scribd

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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