Petition fight looms as Election Day nears
As the primary battle for control of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners enters its final days, the next skirmish will likely be fought in Douglas County District Court.
Voters have three days to mail or drop off their ballots for them to be counted in the entirely mail-in primary election that wraps up 7 p.m. Tuesday.
On Thursday, county commissioners voted 3-1 to uphold the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s rejection of a petition seeking to place a development agreement with Park Cattle Holdings on the November ballot.
Park 2500 petition organizer Jeanne Shizuru anticipated appealing the commissioners’ decision, filing a motion on Monday in lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the petition filed by Park attorney Mark Forsberg back in February. That motion was ruled to be unripe on Wednesday by Senior Judge Steve Kosach, but he invited Shizuru to refile it once commissioners had made their decision.
A June 25 hearing has been set to determine whether the petition is constitutional.
Shizuru’s spouse, Dave Nelson, is seeking re-election to his seat on the Board of Commissioners. He recused himself from Thursday’s discussion. Two of the original petition signatories, Walt Nowosad and Mark Gardner, are also running for county commission.
Nelson is facing a challenge from Gardnerville Ranchos resident Danny Tarkanian for the district 1 seat. Topaz Ranch Estates resident Gardner is challenging Commissioner Larry Walsh in District 3, and Nowosad and Johnson Lane resident Nathan Tolbert are seeking Commission Chairman Barry Penzel’s District 5 seat.
All six men are Republicans, which means the election will essentially be settled in Tuesday’s primary. Ruhenstroth Libertarian Charles Holt will appear on the ballot in November in District 3.
As of Thursday night, Republicans have returned 8,563 ballots in the mail-in primary, or around 41 percent.
That’s nearly 2,000 more ballots than were cast in the 2016 Republican primary, but still 3 percent short of the turnout in that election, which resulted in Nelson and Walsh winning their seats.
Total turnout in the election so far has been 36 percent.
Douglas County residents who want to register to vote or change their registration may still do so by visiting the Clerk-Treasurer’s Election Tent behind the historic Douglas County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., in Minden.
The tent will be closed today, but will reopen Monday and will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to drop off ballots, pick up replacement ballots and same-day voter registration. Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted.
Voters can track their mail-in ballots by visiting govotedouglas.com