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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Does Speaker's Statement Imply Support for SB 103? - Opinion

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has vetoed the legislature's party line passage of IP-1. This initiative would have replaced the state's current opt-in system of voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with an opt-out automatic voter registration process. The measure will now be decided by the voters in the November, 2018 general election.

In response to the veto, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson was quoted in the Nevada Independent;
“Nevadans agree that we need to have a voting system that protects the fundamental right of every eligible voter— Democrat, Republican, non-partisan or otherwise. Voting is a right, not a privilege and we should make it easy for Nevadans to hold their own government accountable.  While I’m disappointed by the governor’s decision to veto IP1, I look forward to the people having the final say in 2018.”

Does the Speaker's statement imply support for SB 103? In a top-two open primary election the right of every voter, regardless of party affiliation, to participate in publicly funded elections is protected. In a top-two open primary election the right of every candidate to face the voters in all phases of the election process is protected. With full participation as provided for in a top-two open primary, the opportunity for Nevadans to hold their elected officials accountable is maximized.

"..a voting system that protects the fundamental right of every eligible voter— Democrat, Republican, non-partisan or otherwise."

"Voting is a right, not a privilege.."

"..make it easy for Nevadans to hold their own government accountable."

In their Nevada Blueprint for the current session of the legislature, the Democratic Caucus is clearly focused on voting rights. "We also need to protect our heritage. That means preserving Nevada’s natural environment, protecting our constitutional rights, and making it easier for our citizens to participate in the democratic process."


"..making it easier for our citizens to participate in the democratic process." 

Reading these statements I find it difficult understand Democratic opposition to SB 103. The only concerns I have heard is that a top-two open primary will not benefit the party and that if voters want to participate in the primary they can register in the party. 

Benefits to the party? Yes. Voters have left and continue to leave or not affiliate with both major political parties because the parties do not represent them. This trend continues every month and is most pronounced among voter between the ages of 18 to 34. Under a top-two open primary, candidates must reach out to a broader range of voters. As this happens, the parties will return to representing those voters. Because the desire to belong is human nature, voters would most likely return to the parties. Also as the parties and their candidates demonstrate more inclusiveness they would most like draw more support.

Parties rights of association; voters can register if they want to participate in the primary? The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld that a top-two open primary where the top two vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, move forward to the general election does not violate a political party's right of association. Saying voters can join a party also ignores why voters are knowingly withdrawing from the process and why Non-Partisan is the only category gaining voter share across all demographics month after month while both the Democratic and Republican Party lose voter share. 

Reading Speaker Frierson's statement on Governor Sandoval's veto of IP-1 and the Democratic Caucus' Nevada Blueprint, the assumption would be that the Democratic Caucus in the Nevada legislature would be in full support of SB 103. Instead it appears efforts to block even a hearing are in full swing. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Democratic Party Losses Outpace GOP While Non-Partisan and Minor Parties Continue to Gain

The 2017 session of the Nevada Legislature is finishing its first month and Voter registration numbers for February, 2017 do not bode well for the majority party.

The Democratic Party lost voter share across all tracked demographics. The Republican Party lost share except in Washoe County and stayed even in the rural counties. However, the news remains positive for Non-Partisan and minor parties, continuing the trend of gaining voter share.
Of note is the growth percentage for the Libertarian Party in Clark County, among those 55 and over and state-wide; 1.00%, 0.76%, and 0.74% respectively. The Independent American Party also posted a 0.89% growth in Clark County, however, there is always a question as to how many of those voters thought they were registering as independents (Non-Partisan).

The Democratic Party also lost ground in virtually all state senate and assembly districts while the Republican Party voter share losses and gains were about even.

State-Wide
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
494
0.08
39.51
-0.04
R
682
0.14
33.07
-0.02
NP
1,271
0.40
20.94
0.05
Other
360
0.37
6.48
0.02
Total not D or R


27.42
0.07
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +0.45%; Lib +0.74%; other 5 parties -0.21%

Clark County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
1,417
0.31
43.18
-0.05
R
1,208
0.40
28.85
-0.01
NP
1,499
0.65
21.85
0.04
Other
456
0.71
6.11
0.01
Total not D or R


27.96
0.05
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +0.89%; Lib +1.00%; other 5 parties -0.11%

 Washoe County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-640
-0.67
35.71
-0.11
R
-195
-0.20
37.16
0.07
NP
-149
-0.28
19.88
0.02
Other
-35
-0.18
7.26
0.02
Total not D or R


27.14
0.04
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.20%; Lib -0.22%; other 5 parties -0.44%

Rural Counties
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-283
-0.62
24.24
-0.06
R
-331
-0.35
51.07
0.03
NP
-79
-0.24
17.28
0.03
Other
-35
-0.18
7.41
0.00
Total not D or R


24.69
0.03
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.58%; Lib +0.42%; other 5 parties -0.55%

18 – 34 Year Old
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-119
-0.07
39.62
-0.01
R
-180
-0.19
22.69
-0.04
NP
82
0.07
29.63
0.03
Other
19
-0.06
8.06
0.01
Total not D or R


37.69
0.04
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +0.17%; Lib +0.55%; other 5 parties -0.62%

55+
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
444
0.18
40.01
-0.06
R
825
0.33
40.46
0.00
NP
483
0.55
14.34
0.03
Other
183
0.58
5.18
0.01
Total not D or R


19.52
0.04
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +0.55%; Lib +0.76%; other 5 parties +0.63%

Major party loses also continue in congressional and legislative districts.

Congressional Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
4
0
0
Republican
2
1
1
Non-Partisan
0
4
0
Other
0
4
0
Both CD 1 and CD 4continue to show the number of voters not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties.

State Senate Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
20
1
0
Republican
9
11
1
Non-Partisan
2
18
1
Other
2
19
0
In 13 districts (61.9%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is unchanged from last month.

State Assembly Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
37
2
3
Republican
21
18
3
Non-Partisan
8
32
2
Other
6
32
4
In 31 districts (73.81%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is unchanged from last month.

The percent of voters not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party is on a pace to equal and perhaps surpass the percent registered to vote in one of the major parties. Among those 18 to 34 years of age, the number of Non-Partisan is seven percentage points higher than those registered in the GOP and the total not affiliated with a major party is only two percent lower than the percent registered as Democratic.



Monday, February 27, 2017

Some Interesting Facts

Did you know:

Nevada currently uses the top-two primary for non-partisan offices such as city council and judges.

Nevada did not require party affiliation on voter registration until 1909 and in the primary elections from 1910 through 1916 all candidates were listed on the same ballot allowing all voters to cast their vote.

If automatic voter registration is enacted this legislative session, voters who do not specify a party will be automatically registered as Non-Partisan and not be allowed to vote in the primary election for most offices under the current system; an unintended consequence.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

SB 103 We Have a Bill

Senator Settelmeyer's top-two primary bill just had its first reading on the floor of the Nevada Senate. The bill is SB 103. You can read it here.

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/BDR/BDR79_24-0521.pdf

Thursday, February 2, 2017

As Session Sets to Open Major Parties Still Losing Voter Share

The 2017 session of the Nevada Legislature begins in four days and the Voter registration numbers for January, 2017 show no change in the trend. Both major political parties continue to lose voter share while Non-Partisan and total voters not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party grow. According to the secretary of state’s office, some counties performed routine list maintenance. However, the trend still was across all demographics; state-wide, Clark County, Washoe County, rural counties, among those 18 – 34 years of age and those above 55.

State-Wide
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-340
-0.06
39.55
0.00
R
-569
-0.11
33.09
-0.02
NP
76
0.02
20.89
0.01
Other
-41
-0.05
6.46
0.00
Total not D or R


27.35
0.01
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.03%; Lib +0.11%; other 5 parties -0.26%

Clark County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
77
0.02
43.23
0.00
R
-124
-0.04
28.86
-0.02
NP
220
0.10
21.81
0.02
Other
33
0.05
6.10
0.01
Total not D or R


27.91
0.03
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +0.09%; Lib +0.25%; other 5 parties -0.22%

Washoe County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-314
-0.33
35.82
-0.01
R
-291
-0.29
37.09
0.00
NP
-126
-0.24
19.86
0.02
Other
-56
-0.19
7.24
0.00
Total not D or R


27.10
0.02
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.34%; Lib -0.09%; other 5 parties -0.28%

 Rural Counties
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-103
-0.23
24.30
-0.01
R
-154
-0.16
51.04
0.00
NP
-18
-0.06
17.25
0.02
Other
-26
-0.19
7.41
0.00
Total not D or R


24.66
0.02
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.14%; Lib -0.21%; other 5 parties -0.64%

18 – 34 Year Old
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-533
-0.32
39.63
0.00
R
-386
-0.41
22.73
-0.01
NP
-338
-0.28
29.60
0.02
Other
-95
-0.28
8.05
0.01
Total not D or R


37.65
0.03
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.18%; Lib -0.24%; other 5 parties -0.57%

55+
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
220
0.09
40.07
0.00
R
136
0.06
40.46
-0.02
NP
230
0.26
14.31
0.02
Other
39
0.12
5.17
0.01
Total not D or R


19.48
0.03
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +0.12%; Lib +0.23%; other 5 parties +0.05%

Major party loses also continue in congressional and legislative districts.

Congressional Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
1
1
2
Republican
3
1
0
Non-Partisan
0
4
0
Other
0
1
3
Both CD 1 and CD 4continue to show the number of voters not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties.

State Senate Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
8
6
7
Republican
17
2
2
Non-Partisan
0
17
4
Other
7
7
7
In 13 districts (61.9%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is unchanged from last month.

State Assembly Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
23
18
1
Republican
30
7
5
Non-Partisan
6
28
8
Other
14
20
8
In 31 districts (73.81%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is unchanged from last month.

Bill language is pending on a bill draft request submitted by Senator James Settelymeyer (R-Minden) that will open up the primary election process to this continually growing segment of disenfranchised Nevada voters. The Nevada legislature can lead the nation by becoming the first legislative body to enact this important election reform. Voters in other states have lead election reform efforts. Isn’t it better if elected officials implement these changes?