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Washoe County Registrar of Voters Office on June 8, 2020. Photo by David Calvert.
Last updated: July 30th, 2020 - 3:48pm

Both constitutional initiatives filed in the 2020 election have failed to earn a spot on November’s ballot as the group backing a proposed amendment aimed at restructuring the state Senate reports gathering fewer than the number of signatures required.

The deadline for collecting the nearly 100,000 required signatures was June 24, but Benjamin Pennington, founder of the political action committee, “Fountainhead Society,” says the decision to shift focus to the 2022 election cycle was made in mid-March.

A lawsuit filed by a different group backing a constitutional initiative that would create an independent redistricting commission resulted in a federal judge extending its deadline for signature collecting from June 24 to Aug. 5. However, according to Pennington, although COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown “impacted every phase” of the initiative’s campaign and his ability to collect the required signatures, he elected to shift his focus to the future rather than seeking a similar extension.

The proposed amendment would institute ranked-choice voting and shorten state senators’ terms to two years. Additionally, it would redraw state Senate districts to align with Nevada’s four congressional districts and allot five senators to each, totalling 20 senators, one less than the 21 that currently represent each of the state’s single-member districts.

He intends to submit an “improved initiative” in the next election cycle. Groups will likely be able to begin filing proposed initiatives for 2022 in September 2021.

Pennington, a public school teacher from Beatty, said previously that his amendment is inspired by the government in Australia and is intended to increase proportional representation. For the amendment to pass, it must be passed by voters in two consecutive election cycles.

This story was updated July 30 at 3:48 p.m. to reflect that Fountainhead Society's deadline for gathering signatures was June 24 as the group did not seek an extended deadline.

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