Nevada’s old fickle friend None of the Above may make a surprising comeback this fall.
Those wanting to vote for a female presidential candidate will have only one possibility. Last week, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, R, ruled that the petition to place Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein on the November ballot fell 647 registered voters short of the 5,431 required.
The Greens have vowed a court fight after questioning the method used to verify registration.
“The Green Party’s platform calls for a guaranteed minimum income, a 100 percent green economy and a 50 percent cut in military spending,” veteran Las Vegas Sun reporter Cy Ryan noted last week in breaking the story.
The Republican female vote looms as the deciding factor in the campaign to raise the Washoe County sales tax.
Presidential election years usually hype turnout. Many show up to vote only at the top of the ticket. Given the unpopularity of both major party candidates, the Silver State’s “none of these candidates” option may actually increase participation. Voters can actually lodge a protest by voting rather than staying home. (Write-ins are illegal.)
The “None of These” provision was placed into law in 1975 by former Assemblyman Don Mello, D-Sparks, and the late Assembly Speaker Joe Dini, D-Yerington. They excluded themselves, of course. Only statewide races are affected.
Animosity was the real motive. During the 1975 legislative session, Mello raked Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Al Gunderson over the coals to the point of personal insult. The late judge happened to be up for re-election the following year. Correctly anticipating that Gunderson would get no opposition, Mello fielded the ghost rider against him.
The weird new law put even unopposed candidates in the position of raising and spending money to keep the “None” vote to less-than-embarrassing proportions. Gunderson was its first victim. He drew no opponent, but “None” scored 21.5% in the November ‘76 election.
The Ghost Rider claimed its first victory in the September ‘76 primary, winning the Republican congressional nomination. (Back then, Nevada had a single statewide seat.)
One response to Ryan’s story on the Sun website is a golden oldie: Should “none” win, the office in question should remain vacant and a new election held. Not a bad idea.
On top of this comes word that some federal candidates below the presidential level are taking the huge Clark County African-American vote for granted. They ignore at their peril.
Rep. Shelly Berkeley, D-Las Vegas, did so in her race for U.S. Senate in 2012 and was soundly defeated by now-Senator Dean Heller.
HALL OF FAME BLUES. The past year has been rough for César Chávez Nevada Labor Hall of Famers. Sam Lumpe of Sheet Metal Workers Local 26/AFL-CIO is laid up at Park Place Assisted Living, Grey House, 2305 Ives Court, Reno NV 89503. Send cards and letters.
Former Assemblymember Bob Price, D- North Las Vegas, is back home in Sparks after an extended stay recovering from post-surgical complications. He recently received his 60-year membership pin from Electrical Workers Local 357/AFL-CIO. He’s in the phone book. Give him a call.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. He chaired the 1982 None of the Above for Governor (NAGPAC) campaign. E-mail <email@example.com> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.