Senate Bill Would Open Nevada's Primary Elections - Open Primaries
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Senate Bill Would Open Nevada's Primary Elections

Posted by Russell Daniels on February 19, 2021 at 2:54 PM

Senate Bill Would Open Nevada's Primary Elections

written by Paul Nelson for KTVN News

Nevada's nonpartisan voters could vote in partisan races during the primary elections if SB 121 passes.

A bill in the state senate would change Nevada's primary election system. It would allow people to vote for every candidate on the ballot, regardless of their party affiliation.

Nevada holds a primary election every other spring. Every eligible voter can participate but nonpartisans don't get to vote for partisan races.

"In reality, closed primaries are the biggest voter suppression mechanism in this state and if we continue down this process, more and more people will become disenfranchised and become disillusioned with our electoral process,” Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno said.
More than half a million active voters in Nevada are nonpartisan. That's nearly one-third of the electorate.
"It's their choice but in doing so, they make a huge sacrifice which means that they don't get to vote in our closed partisan primaries,” Kieckhefer said.

Kieckhefer says holding an open primary will allow all voters to select our leaders, early in the process.

"The primaries decide a vast majority of races who represent them in government, and frankly, voters shouldn't have to join some private club to have a voice in their government and the right to vote,” Kieckhefer said.

The move would also allow republicans and democrats to participate in the opposition party's primaries.

"These are primaries that focus on political parties,” Kieckhefer said. “This changes it to a primary that focuses on the voters.”

He says getting enough lawmakers on board could be challenging. After all, they all got elected under the current system.

"In most of these legislative races, the only people we have to answer to in order to get elected again is to the base of our own party, and that's not a good system to bring people together and solve problems,” Kieckhefer said.

SB 121 would run the primary elections like the local races. Everyone gets to vote and the top two candidates move on to the general election.

This bill does not include the presidential nominations. Nevada has a caucus system for that but there is a bill that would change that to a primary election. Kieckhefer supports that idea.

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published this page in Open Primaries in the News 2021-02-19 14:54:57 -0500