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Ranked-Choice Voting Advocates Celebrate State Supreme Court Ruling

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Thursday, June 30, 2022   

A proposal to change the way Nevada votes is one step closer to getting on the November ballot after the State Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge.

The "Better Voting Nevada" campaign wants to end closed, partisan primaries where you can only vote for your registered party, and move to an open primary.

Sondra Cosgrove, professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada and a supporter of the "Better Voting Nevada" campaign, would like to change the state constitution to expand the number of candidates who move to the general election, to give more independent candidates a shot.

"We want to have more options," Cosgrove explained. "We don't want just two people moving forward from the primary to the general election. We want five people, because oftentimes when you look at the people who move forward, it's just the people with the most money."

The proposal would also institute ranked-choice voting in the general election. People would rank the candidates in order of preference, and if no one gets 51%, the lowest vote-getter falls off. Then, the second choice of their voters gets added to the total, and so on until someone has a majority.

The ballot measure is opposed by many of the state's top Democrats and by Silver State Voices, on the grounds it would be too confusing for voters.

Cosgrove argued the open-primary system would give candidates incentive to appeal to the widest range of voters, instead of producing far-right or far-left candidates who appeal to the extremes of their base.

"We're hoping ... the candidates will do the more moderate platform in the primary, and then just continue with that moderate platform as they move forward," Cosgrove emphasized.

The campaign turned in the last batch of signatures this week. Because the proposal would amend the state constitution, it would have to be approved by voters in two successive elections.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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