WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two ballot initiatives filed earlier this week in Nevada could create an independent redistricting commission in the state.
Fair Maps Nevada submitted a notice of intent to circulate petitions creating the commission on Tuesday. The only difference in the two petitions comes down to when the maps would be redrawn — one petition would require new legislative and congressional maps to be redrawn in 2027, while the other version would require the maps to be redrawn in 2031.
The group attempted to place a similar amendment on the 2020 ballot, but failed to gather the requisite number of signatures. The proposed amendment was also subject to a lawsuit alleging that the language was misleading and inaccurate. Ultimately the Nevada Supreme Court was not persuaded by the argument.
The proposed commission would consist of seven individuals, four of whom would be appointed by the leadership of the Nevada Legislature. The remaining three members would be chosen by the four appointed members, and must be unaffiliated with the two largest political parties in the state.
Candidates for partisan office, lobbyists or “certain relatives of such individuals” would not be eligible to serve on the commission.
The commission would be required to draw maps that comply with the U.S. Constitution are geographically compact and contiguous, provide equal opportunities for racial and language minorities to participate in the political process, respect areas of common interest, are politically competitive and don’t “unduly” advantage or disadvantage a political party.
Once appointed to the commission, members’ terms would “expire once the Commission has completed its obligations for a census cycle but not before any judicial review of the redistricting plan is complete and shall expire no later than the release of the following decennial census of the United States.”
The powers granted to the commission would not be subject in any way to the control of the Legislature, and all commission meetings must be open to the public.
Multiple states already have an independent redistricting commission including Arizona, California, Colorado and Michigan, and a group in Ohio is currently working to place an amendment on the 2024 ballot that would create an independent redistricting commission in the state.
The next step in the process is obtaining petition signatures from 10% of the voters who voted in the state at the last preceding general election, and 25% of the total number of signatures required must come from each of Nevada’s four congressional districts.