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Henderson City Hall as seen on Thursday, March, 16, 2017. Photo by Jeff Scheid.

Henderson Mayor Debra March will be unable to run for a second term and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman will be in office for an extra 18 months under a bill passed by the Legislature and awaiting a signature from Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Those electoral changes are the result of AB50, a bill backed by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office that would require the eight Nevada cities that currently hold municipal elections in odd-numbered years to move their election schedules to even-numbered years starting in 2022.

The bill, which passed with bipartisan majorities in both houses of the Legislature, was brought by the office as a way to increase voter turnout in local municipal elections, which typically see much lower participation than elections in normal, even-year cycles. (Turnout in the 2019 municipal primary election was just 8.8 percent of all registered voters.)

But moving the election schedule means that local government mayors and City Council holders up for election in 2019 in Caliente, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Ely, Fallon and Yerington will see their terms extended by 18 months to coincide with the new election schedule. (Boulder City is in the process of moving election dates, meaning the mayor and City Council members will serve shorter 3 year and 6 month terms).

The change means officials elected in 2019 — such as Goodman, who won a third term outright during the April primary election — will serve an extra year and a half before coming up for election again.

But it also means that March, who was appointed to the Henderson City Council in 2009 and elected as mayor in 2017, won’t be able to run for another term as mayor after surpassing 12 years in office and being officially termed out under the state’s constitutional requirements for term limits.

Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said that March would have been able to run for another term in 2021 without the bill, but that pushing the election back to 2022 would place her over the 12-year maximum for terms served (Henderson, like Reno, considers the mayoral position to be part of the City Council, meaning that March’s previous time in the council prevents her from running for another mayoral term.)

Thorley also shared an opinion from the office issued in February to a question from March herself if she would be able to run for another term. The secretary of state’s office held that an individual can run for re-election if they have not served 12 years or more in the office, even if they have served more than 12 years at the conclusion of their term, but that moving the election date back would block March from running for another term.

“As a result, the passage of Assembly Bill 50 in its current format would prohibit you from running for a second term as Mayor of the City of Henderson,” Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske wrote in the letter.

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