CARSON CITY — An initiative proposed by conservative activist Sharron Angle to require photo identification in Nevada to vote is being challenged in a lawsuit that claims the measure is defective and unconstitutional.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court in Carson City argues the proposed constitutional amendment illegally commands the Legislature to enact the law and intrudes on powers reserved for the legislative branch.
Angle’s initiative would require election officials to issue free voter identification cards that contain photographs to anyone who does not have a valid photo ID issued by a government entity.
The lawsuit argues the free cards amount to an unfunded mandate in violation of a constitutional provision requiring any initiative that involves an expense to include a funding source. It further claims a “description of effect” — a required summary of what the law would do — is lacking.
“For those voters that will be subject to the petition’s rules …. the petition will require them to obtain a new identification card every time they move,” the lawsuit said. Under existing state law, Nevada voters who move between counties or precincts after the close of registration can vote in the precinct where they previously resided for that election.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Clark County voters, Emmanuel D. Alfaro and Rosa Mendoza, and is being backed by lawyers tied to the Democratic Party. It names Angle’s political action commission, Our Vote Nevada and its secretary/treasurer as defendants.
Secretary of State Ross Miller is also named.
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 34 states have some type of voter ID laws on the books, though not all are in force and some are being challenged in courts.
Angle is a former state assemblywoman from Reno who, with the backing of the tea party, came out the victor in a crowded Republican field hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010. Reid defeated Angle by 41,000 votes.
After her defeat, she said she was devoting her time to exposing alleged voter fraud in a documentary.