Nevada Ballot Question 4: State Constitutional Rights of Voters Amendment
Ballot Question 4 proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to insert a section guaranteeing certain voters rights such as ensuring any registered voter can receive a ballot, vote freely and receive assistance if they desire. These provisions already exist in statute; the amendment would simply elevate them to the state constitution.
The Legislative Counsel Bureau’s fiscal staff has determined that there would be no fiscal impact from Question 4.
Proponents’ Arguments For:
Legislative sponsors argue that voting is a fundamental right vital to the existence of democracy and therefore should be enshrined in the state constitution. Three amendments to the U.S. Constitution address voting rights and, therefore, it is appropriate to place voting rights within the Nevada Constitution as well.
Opponents’ Arguments Against:
There is no official opposition to Question 4. The opposition was minimal during legislative hearings and the measure was approved unanimously by both chambers of the legislature in 2019.
The federal Helping Americans Vote Act of 2002 required certain disclosures to be placed at all polling places. States were then responsible for incorporating these requirements into their state election laws. The Nevada legislature did so by passing the Voters’ Bill of Rights into statute in 2003, which both chambers of the legislature approved unanimously. The act declared that every registered voter in the state has the following rights:
- To receive and cast a ballot that: a) is written in a format that allows the clear identification of candidates; and (b) accurately records the voter’s preference in the selection of candidates.
- To have questions concerning voting procedures answered and to have an explanation of the procedures for voting posted in a conspicuous place at the polling place.
- To vote without being intimidated, threatened or coerced.
- To vote during any period for early voting or on election day if the voter is waiting in line at a polling place at which, by law, the voter is entitled to vote at the time that the polls close and the voter has not already cast a vote in that election.
- To return a spoiled ballot and receive another ballot in its place.
- To request assistance in voting, if necessary.
- To receive a sample ballot that is accurate, informative and delivered in a timely manner as provided by law.
- To receive instruction in the use of the equipment for voting during any period for early voting or on election day.
- To be provided with equal access to the elections system without discrimination, including, without limitation, discrimination on the basis of race, age, disability, military service, employment or overseas residence.
- To expect a uniform, statewide standard for counting and recounting all votes accurately as provided by law.
- To have complaints about elections and election contests resolved fairly, accurately and efficiently as provided by law.
The proposed amendment would insert this identical language into Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution, where it could not be amended without a subsequent vote of the people.
Question 4 is a question referred to the ballot by state lawmakers. In Nevada, constitutional amendments can either be passed with the approval of voters in two subsequent elections or by approval of lawmakers in two subsequent legislative sessions followed by voter approval in the next election. Lawmakers approved Question 4 in the 2017 and 2019 legislative sessions and the amendment would become effective upon its passage in 2020.