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Nevada Supreme Court rules voter ID ballot measure can move forward

Supporters still need to gather more than 102,000 signatures by June 26 to qualify the measure for the 2024 ballot.
Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Election 2024

The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge that sought to block a proposed voter ID ballot measure, clearing the way for the measure to continue on its path to the 2024 ballot.

In a unanimous five-page decision issued Friday, members of the court upheld a lower court’s February decision dismissing the legal challenge filed against the measure. Opponents, represented by a group of Nevada and Washington, D.C.-based attorneys who typically champion Democrat-backed causes, had compared voter ID requirements to an unconstitutional poll tax.

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.

In their decision, members of the court wrote that they were unconvinced by the appellant’s arguments that the ballot question would require some sort of expenditure or appropriation to create a free form of identification for voters who otherwise do not have a form of identification — a requirement to avoid creation of a poll tax, which is unconstitutional. The DMV charges fees to obtain a driver’s license or identification.

Justices wrote that those arguments were “improper at the preelection stage” and cited past decisions holding that the court cannot consider substantive challenges at this juncture — only holding that it can review procedural issues pre-election, such as an initiative's description of effect.

The order also upheld the measure’s description of effect (which was also challenged in the lawsuit) as constitutionally valid.

“While a better, lengthier description of effect could have been drafted, we conclude that the description of effect before us is legally sufficient,” the order states.

The Friday decision clears the way for supporters of the ballot question to continue collecting the needed signatures to make it onto the ballot. Petition supporters must gather more than 102,000 valid signatures from voters by June 26, with about 26,000 signatures coming from each of the state’s four congressional districts.

David Gibbs, the head of the Repair the Vote PAC, previously told The Nevada Independent that supporters had gathered about 60,000 signatures as of early May.


“This ruling is a testament to the power of civic engagement and the importance of upholding the principles that form the foundation of our democracy," Gibbs said in a Friday statement. "The people of Nevada have spoken, and their voices have been heard loud and clear.”

Attorneys representing the appellant did not immediately return requests for comment.

This story was updated on 5/24/24 at 1:55 p.m. to include a quote from David Gibbs.


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