Nevada Photo ID Initiative For 2024 Ballot Will Proceed, State Supreme Court Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nevada voters could vote on whether the state will adopt strict photo ID rules to vote if the initiative gains enough signatures to be on the ballot, the state supreme court ruled unanimously today. 

If the initiative makes it on the ballot and is subsequently passed by voters, the ballot initiative would impose photo ID requirements for in-person voting and require voters who vote by mail to include an identifying number — such as a driver’s license number or partial Social Security number — with their mail-in ballot. Currently, the state does not require voters to present identification while voting, in most cases. 

This ruling comes after a voter filed a lawsuit in December 2023 alleging that the Republican-backed ballot initiative violates Nevada law because it is deceptive, misleading and does not explain the consequences of the ballot initiative to properly inform voters. 

The lawsuit alleged that the ballot initiative violates the Nevada Constitution because the measure would require government spending, but does not provide how revenue would be raised. Additionally, the plaintiff argued that requiring all voters to have a photo ID could only be constitutional if Nevada were to offer free photo identification to all voters. 

Since Nevada does not currently offer free photo ID to all voters, the voter who brought the case argued that the government would have to provide identification to all Nevada voters but does not explain how this program will be funded. The new ID requirements for mail-in ballots could also require additional funding for new mail ballots and envelopes. 

Previously a trial court dismissed the lawsuit in March after finding that the ballot initiative’s language does not violate the Nevada Constitution and is “adequately summarize[d].” The state’s high court upheld the ruling today writing that the plaintiff failed to show that the initiative would violate the state’s constitution.

“Indeed, the description of effectaddresses the primary objective of the Initiative and its intended effects — an amendment to the Nevada Constitution to require voters to present valid identification when voting in person at the polls,” the Nevada Supreme Court concluded. 

In the last election cycle, Republican-backed groups lost three separate challenges to put a photo ID initiative on the ballot. The group behind this year’s anti-voting initiative,“Repair the Vote,” was unsuccessful in getting its initiative on the ballot in 2022 due to similar pro-voting lawsuits. In addition to the failed Repair the Vote initiative, another Republican-backed group, R.I.S.E. Nevada, attempted to add a strict photo identification initiative to the ballot, but were similarly sued and ultimately withdrew the petition. 

Read the opinion here. 

Learn more about the case here.