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Judge allows Nevada voter ID ballot measure to move forward 

Voter ID as a concept has been unsuccessfully proposed numerous times in Nevada, despite polls showing significant support for it
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2024

A ballot measure to require and implement voter identification could now be up for a statewide vote this year after a Carson City judge rejected a legal challenge filed against it.

In his Monday ruling, Judge William Maddox said the ballot initiative is constitutional because its description of effect (a 200-word summary of the measure included on signature forms) effectively conveys to voters what the petition does. The judge also said it does not contain an unfunded mandate — dismissing arguments the legal challenge levied against the petition.

“I think it’s probably time for voters of the state of Nevada to decide if they want this or not,” Maddox said from the bench on Monday.

The initiative was proposed by Repair the Vote, a political action committee led by former Nevada Republican Club president and former Clark County GOP Chair David Gibbs. The petition aims to amend Nevada’s Constitution by requiring in-person voters to provide valid photo identification and those voting by mail to provide a personally identifiable number — such as part of a driver’s license number or Social Security number — alongside their signature. 

Nevada does not require voters to provide any type of identification before voting, but each voter is required to provide a signature that must match the one in the state’s files.

Jennifer Fleischmann, the development director for the progressive immigrant advocacy group Make the Road Nevada, filed the legal challenge. Her legal representatives did not immediately respond to questions about whether she would be appealing the judge’s decision.

The initiative by Repair the Vote marks the second time the PAC has tried to place a voter ID ballot measure in front of voters. Last year, a judge ordered the group to rewrite its “description of effect” because it was argumentative. The petition ultimately did not receive enough signatures and did not make it on the ballot.

David O’Mara, who represents Gibbs and Repair the Vote, said that petitioners have been in the process of collecting signatures, but the effort is still in the early stages so the total number of signatures is unknown. 

“We are making really great strides in getting enough signatures to put this on the ballot in the next general election,” O’Mara told The Nevada Independent after the judge’s ruling. “We're pretty confident that we will get the necessary ballot signatures that we need.”

Under state law, petition supporters must gather and submit at least 102,362 signatures by July 8 to qualify for the 2024 ballot, with at least 25,591 signatures coming from each of the state’s four congressional districts. As a proposed constitutional amendment, it would need to pass twice in subsequent elections (2024 and 2026) to take effect.

Asked about the failure to collect enough signatures last year, O’Mara said petitioners have “momentum” to ensure that Nevadans will understand that this will come before voters and people will be more confident when signing the petition.

A Nevada Independent poll last year found a majority of Nevada voters strongly supported voter ID laws, which have been a key aspect of Republicans’ electoral reform efforts. A bill pushed by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo this year to enact voter ID laws stalled in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, and similar proposals have failed in prior sessions.


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