Official OK with Nevada Ballot Ruling

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Nevada's secretary of state is complying with a court order to qualify two more questions for the November ballot - and he's also criticizing those who questioned why he left them off in the first place.

Dean Heller issued a statement Monday saying he followed the Nevada Constitution in making his initial decision against the proposals, and claims by petition advocates that he was trying to thwart the will of the public were "not only baseless but downright ridiculous."

Heller also said he told petitioners that a court couldn't intervene until he made a decision on the validity of signatures supporting the proposals to raise the minimum wage and to stop frivolous lawsuits.

After Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox ordered the questions onto the ballot last week, Heller promptly recalculated the signature count for both proposals and determined they easily met a requirement for a minimum of 51,337 signatures.

The proposal to raise the minimum wage by $1, to $6.15 an hour, gained 10,499 more signatures for a total of 59,718. The frivolous lawsuits proposal picked up 8,025 signatures for a total of 57,617.

The secretary of state's office had said petitioners turned in what appeared to be more than enough names - but some of the petitions lacked an affidavit from a petition signer, attesting that other signatures were those of registered voters. Petition gatherers also sign an affidavit that says the signatures are valid.

Maddox said the double-signature requirement that's in the Nevada Constitution clashes with a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision on ballot proposals.

"The 'boy, is that stupid' test applies here," Maddox said, adding that would be the reaction of a petition signer when asked to sign another document attesting that other signatures of total strangers also were valid.

Heller said his take on the controversy was, "It's the Constitution, stupid."


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