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Regional News: New petition would open Nevada’s primary elections to nonpartisans

Posted by   /  February 6, 2020  /  No Comments

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State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, right. /Photo: Tim Dunn/RGJ File

By James DeHaven | Reno Gazette Journal 

The measure calls for a major changes to how the Silver State names general election candidates

Nevadans of all political stripes would be able to vote in primary elections under an initiative petition filed last week with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. 

The initiative, submitted by term-limited state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, could add hundreds of thousands of nonpartisan and third-party voters to the ranks of Nevadans who help pick candidates for general election ballots. 

Those voters have long been excluded under the Silver State’s “closed primary” system, which permits only registered Republicans and Democrats to weigh in on contests that often decide the winner of small state and local races. 

The process has been consistently criticized by campaign watchdogs and good government advocates who say it gives fringe elements in both major political parties undue influence over elections that ought to be decided by a much broader swath of voters.

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