Saturday, May 23, 2015

Assembly Amendment Would Create Separate Nevada Presidential Primary

Another day, another change in the effort to create a presidential primary for the 2016 cycle in Nevada.

On Thursday, May 21 the Nevada Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections held a working session on SB 421. That is the bill to not only establish a presidential primary, but to move up the June primary elections for other offices to the last Tuesday in February, creating a consolidated primary. Typically, these committee working session yield votes to pass or table the bill under consideration. However, that was not the case with the LegOps work session on the state Senate-passed presidential primary legislation.

Instead, yet another amendment was introduced, adding still one more bend in the wending path toward a potential presidential primary. The proposal now on the table would create a separate presidential primary scheduled for the last Tuesday in February. The primaries for other offices would stay in June.

While this addresses some of the negative feedback SB 421 received in its initial Assembly hearing earlier this week, it does have budgetary implications. The separate presidential primary obviously will cost the state of Nevada. To reduce those costs, the amendment to the Senate bill would not provide for early voting -- eliminating that potential conflict with New Hampshire -- but would allow for absentee and military voting. Those would be the only exceptions. Otherwise, all voting will take place on election day, presumably February 23, 2016 if this bill passes and is signed into law.

Of course, if the LegOps committee signs off on this change and the Assembly passes the bill in its amended form, it will have to return to the Senate. Senate sponsor, James Settlemeyer (R-17th, Minden), has shepherded this bill through committee and the full Senate and has appeared willing to make changes -- any changes -- that would facilitate a change from the caucus/convention system to a primary.

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