RENO, NV (KOLO) The League of Women Voters want to change the way candidates are selected to represent their constituents. In Nevada that means taking re-districting out of the hands of lawmakers.
District maps of Nevada show how the state is chopped up into Assembly and Senate Districts. Congressional districts are drawn in the same way.
Every ten years after the U.S. Census is complete, Nevada Lawmakers during their session immediately after the census results, redraw those districts based upon population.
While it seems straight forward, depending upon the party in power, those districts can be sliced to benefit that party--in essence the candidate selects the voters instead of the other way around.
“We have become so polarized. Part of it is when you have districts that aren't fair, it leads to extremism,” says Mary Liveratti with the League of Women Voters of Northern Nevada. “So If I'm in a district and I am democrat I can listen to all the democrats and what they want, and I don't have to listen to opposing views. And the same goes if I were a Republican,” she says.
In August the League of Women Voters announced the "People Powered Fair Maps Campaign" where the group will attempt to change the way redistricting maps are drawn in all 50 states.
In Nevada that will mean a voter initiative which would change the state's constitution.
The initiative asks the voter if an independent commission consisting of seven people should be tasked with the job.
”Getting the signatures is the next hurdle,” says Nancy Scott with the League of Women Voters of Northern Nevada. “We have until the middle of June,” she says.
The voter initiative would take 97,000 petition signatures from registered voters throughout the state, verified by the secretary of state to make it on the 2020 ballot.
The commission would consist of 2 legislative members from each party who will then select three non-partisan or minor political party members.
Because this initiative would change the state constitution, it needs to be voted on in the affirmative twice by Nevada voters--once in 2020, and in the 2022 election.
The redistricting commission would operate in public.
Earlier this week, a legal challenge to the ballot question was filed with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.
That objection relates to the initiative’s words and description.
A judge will determine if the language on the redistricting question is specific and accurate enough to proceed.
The League of Women Voter says they will change the text if needed and carry on with the game plan.
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