Laws governing recall in Nevada

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The citizens of Nevada are granted the authority to perform a recall election by Section 9 of Article II of the Nevada Constitution, which says:
"Every public officer in the State of Nevada is subject, as herein provided, to recall from office by the registered voters of the state, or of the county, district, or municipality which he represents."

The broad right of recall in Nevada applies to all elective officers after the first six months of the term to which the incumbent was elected. Although the state's constitutional authorization for recall includes members of the U.S. Congress, the Nevada Secretary of State issued an advisory letter in 1978 saying that voters in the state cannot actually vote to recall the federal politicians from their state.[1]

Notice of intent to recall

Before a petition to recall is circulated, a notice of intent must be filed with the appropriate filing officer. The appropriate filing officer is the official with whom the officeholder being recalled filed a declaration or acceptance of candidacy. This will either be a County Clerk, Registrar of Voters, City Clerk, or the Secretary of State. The notice of intent must be signed before a notary public by three registered voters who have voted in the state, county, district or municipality that elected the public officer in the last election.

Signature requirement

Main article: Nevada signature requirements

In accordance with a December 11, 2009 court ruling (Waymire v. Miller), a Nevada District Court judge ruled that any registered voter who lives in the district represented by the officeholder being recalled is eligible to sign a recall petition. The ruling overrides the existing law that stipulates that only registered voters who voted in the previous election are eligible to sign a recall petition.[2]

The previous law stated: The number of valid signatures required for a recall election is 25 percent of the number of persons that voted in the last preceding election for the office of the official sought to be recalled. Each signer must be a qualified voter within the district represented by the officeholder being recalled.

Then, in June 2010, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling, and said that signatures on recall petitions, in order to be counted, must be the signatures of voters who actually voted in the election at which the official to be recalled was elected. The Nevada Supreme Court decision was 7-0.

The decision was written by Kris Pickering and said that the Nevada Constitution requires those who seek to recall public officers to collect signatures of at least 25% of the voters who "actually" voted in the election when the officers won their seats: "Counting only the signatures of people who voted in the relevant election, neither petition met the 25 percent needed to qualify."[3] She also wrote that the Webster's Dictionary definition of "actually" means a voter "really" must have voted in the election in which the officer subject to recall was elected.

Circulating the recall petition

Circulation of the recall petition must be completed within 90 days after registration. The completed petition must be returned to the original filing officer before 90 days for signature verfication.

Review of petition by filing officer

Following this, the Secretary of State will determine whether or not the petition is "sufficient" based upon the County Clerk or Registrars’ certified results of the signature verification.

Recall Election

The filing officer will then issue a call for a special election in the jurisdiction represented by the officeholder being recalled between 10 and 20 days after the Secretary of State has given notification that the petition is sufficient, unless a court complaint has been filed. The special election must then be held within 30 days after the filing officer issues this call.

Contact Information

Nevada Secretary of State
Elections Division
101 North Carson Street, Suite 3
Carson City, NV 89701-3714
Phone: 775.684.5705

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