No hearing for primary reform
March 28, 2017
We were disappointed to hear that a bill to open up Nevada's closed primary system probably isn't going to see the light of day this Legislative session.
Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said Friday that SB 103, sponsored by Minden Sen. James Settelemeyer, won't get a hearing.
Nevada's primaries are closed now, which means only members of a given party may vote for their candidates.
Republicans dominate Douglas County's electorate, which means that members of the GOP determine who goes onto the general election for partisan offices like county commissioner or clerk-treasurer. Democrats, nonpartisan and minor party voters are eliminated from the process unless they change their registration to Republican.
Settelmeyer's bill would have allowed any voter to cast a ballot during the primary for whatever candidate appears, regardless of party affiliation.
The open primary bill was the last piece of a puzzle Settelmeyer attempted to put together during the 2015 Legislature, but the effort failed in the waning hours of the session.
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The ultimate effort was to replace the Nevada caucus with a primary election. Making that conversion would allow greater participation in the presidential selection process.
It's a shame that this clear effort to increase voter participation should be the victim of partisan politics.