County supports revision to primary law
February 22, 2019
A bill that would revise Nevada's primary law back to where it was in 2014 is before the Legislature.
County commissioners voted 5-0 to support the bill at their Feb. 7 meeting.
Assembly Bill 82 was introduced by the Nevada Association of Counties.
Under current law, if two members of the same major party are the only candidates seeking partisan office they would go to a primary and the winner would be the only person on the general election ballot.
In counties where there is a dominant political party, like Douglas, that has meant elections for the office of county commissioner, assessor and public guardian have been decided solely by Republicans under Nevada's closed primary system.
At a recent discussion of the system, Commissioner Barry Penzel pointed out that in Clark County, which has an overwhelming majority of Democrats, Republicans are disenfranchised.
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Commissioner Dave Nelson, who ran in 2008 and 2016 under both systems, pointed out that a Democrat ran in 2008 and he was defeated in the primary.
In 2016, he won the primary and went onto the general election ballot alone.
"As someone who runs for office, it is cheaper when you only have one election," he said. "I don't know if you've noticed but it's getting very expensive to run for office in this county."
The bill was mentioned Feb. 12 at the Committee on Government Affairs by representatives of the Nevada Association of Counties.