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Another day, another veto in Nevada

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June 1, 2011

Nevada

by Eileen McGuire-Mahony

Carson City, NEVADA: In language reminiscent of last month's veto, Nevada's Governor has shot down the legislature's second attempt at redistricting.

AB 566, a combined bill addressing Assembly, Senate, and U.S. House seats, sailed through both the lower and upper chamber of the legislature on a pair of party line votes. Both sides declaimed the other for stubborn unwillingness to compromise and cynical exploitation of the Silver State's exploding Hispanic population. While all the howling the GOP minority in the legislative branch could not prevent a 26-26 Assembly vote and a 11-10 concurrence in the Senate, the freshman Republican in the governor's mansion swiftly nixed the bill.

Just as he had when he vetoed SB 497 on May 14, 2011, Brian Sandoval described AB 566 as unfair to Hispanic voters and out of step with requirements of the Voting Rights Act. In the last decade, Nevada grew more than any other state and Hispanics drove those numbers. They have been clear that they expect greater representation and have had their eye on the new 4th Congressional district the state won. However, everyone else has the same idea.

Both parties have claimed to have the best interests of minority voters at heart in their map. Republicans accuse Democrats of diluting reliably Democratic Hispanic votes to maximize the party's chances without giving equal consideration to what Hispanics specifically want. Democrats shoot back that the GOP is, far from creating majority-minority district to benefit Hispanics, actually packing them in order to weaken their power overall. On both sides of the fights, Hispanic interest groups have waded into the fray, proposing a few maps of their own.

Coming only days before the 2011 legislative session runs out, there may not be a third attempt. Democrats have said they will only release a third bill if Republicans are willing to negotiate. The GOP attitude, however, is that they have been negotiating all along and that it is Democrats who are unwilling to give in on anything. There remains little expectation of a legislativally produced map and both parties have already filed place holding lawsuits in federal court to anticipate the looming day when redistricting lands in the judiciary's lap.

Both parties have claimed to have the best interests of minority voters at heart in their map. Republicans accuse Democrats of diluting reliably Democratic Hispanic votes to maximize the party's chances without giving equal consideration to what Hispanics specifically want. Democrats shoot back that the GOP is, far from creating majority-minority district to benefit Hispanics, actually packing them in order to weaken their power overall. On both sides of the fights, Hispanic interest groups have waded into the fray, proposing a few maps of their own.

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