Las Vegas, NV – Today, the “Our Vote Nevada PAC” failed to file the required number of signatures (101,667) to qualify for the November 2014 ballot. “Our Vote Nevada PAC,” sought to impose a discriminatory, suppressive photographic voter ID requirement on voters in Nevada. Initially filed on January 29, 2014, the original petition did not include a financial impact statement. The ACLU of Nevada challenged the original petition’s description of effect (DOE) as insufficient and confusing to voters since it omitted the material consequences of adoption and the associated fiscal burdens on Nevada taxpayers.
“Nevada taxpayers deserve to have all the facts when anyone seeks to amend the state constitution. By not including the fiscal impacts of this initiative, the group behind “Our Vote Nevada PAC” obscured the truth about the effects of this petition,” said Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada.
The ACLU of Nevada raised a number of other challenges to the DOE, including the disproportionate burden the photo ID requirement would place on vulnerable voters. Many voters who lack driver’s licenses, passports or other forms of photographic identification also lack access to transportation to registration sites, or struggle to visit during regular operating hours. Others possess impairments that preclude them from waiting in often lengthy lines to obtain needed documentation. Adoption of the initiative would have imposed on voters a requirement to obtain certain identifying documentation, at their own expense, to obtain the allegedly “free” voter identification cards.
“Brennan Center research demonstrates that those living in poverty are less likely to have driver’s licenses and therefore face greater obstacles in obtaining photo IDs, due to lack of work schedule flexibility and lack of access to transportation.” said Staci Pratt, legal director, ACLU of Nevada. “Furthermore, the burdens of photo ID laws fall disproportionately on voters of color, who are less likely to possess qualifying photo ID. A 2006 Brennan Center report revealed that African-Americans possess ‘driver’s licenses at half the rate of whites, with only 22% of black men aged 18-24 in possession of a valid driver’s license.’”
On May 13, Judge Russell found “the Description of Effect filed with the Secretary of State is materially misleading, and any amendments or revisions to the description of effect must be accomplished by Defendants by withdrawing the current petition and re-filing an amended petition with a revised Description of Effect… Any signatures collected prior to this revision are invalid.” The Court emphasized that the “Petition will require the expenditure of state and/or local funds for the ‘free’ voter identification program that it would require, but the Description of Effect fails to make any mention of that inevitable price tag.” This ruling narrowed the window for the gathering of valid signatures.