The Nevada Green Party is awaiting a federal judge’s ruling on a complaint that seeks to force Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to accept additional signatures that would put the Green Party’s candidate, Jill Stein, on the ballot in Nevada.
After Cegavske rejected the Nevada Green Party’s appeal to recount the rejected signatures and the additional 1,200 rejected signatures that the party collected to meet the minimum requirement, the party filed a complaint arguing that the signature submission deadline for ballot access should be extended and that the additional signatures that the party collected after the deadline should be accepted.
“We had no other option than to file a lawsuit that questioned the constitutionality of the arbitrary deadlines given us,” Green Party Southern Nevada Co-Chair Kim Borghese said.
During Monday’s preliminary hearing, Tony Nasser, the Nevada Green Party’s attorney, argued that the deadlines for submission of the signatures are arbitrary.
“Other states do not have such early or stringent dates and rules on turning in signatures,” Borghese said. “The judge’s questioning appeared to be unsympathetic to the Green Party. She questioned the Nevada Green Party’s diligence in the case and that because they have been on the ballot before, they should somehow have known this was going to happen.”
The Nevada Green Party initially collected about 8,600 signatures, but Cegavske threw out 3,861 of them in June, leaving the party with not enough signatures to meet the minimum requirement.
The party then filed a subsequent appeal to have 3,000 signatures recounted and also gathered 1,200 additional signatures. The appeal and the additional signatures were also rejected by Cegavske.
“The process of throwing out signatures is full of subjectivity and human error. In addition, the registrar’s office was very rushed to get through our petition and I do not believe took the care that was needed to doublecheck the verification process,” Borghese said.
“This is extremely high and begs to question the process, so the fact that they were unwilling to even recount them is highly suspicious and absolutely unfair,” Borghese said about the rejected signatures.
Nevada’s requirement to turn in all signatures on the same day in every county makes the process more difficult, she said.
“In other states, you have a window of time you can turn them in and then a final deadline. As you are turning them in, the registrar does the verification process and lets you know how many you still need. If we had the same system, we could have gone back out to get more signatures when we were told we were short, which we did anyway but they didn’t accept them,” she said.
Nevada does not have a write-in rule.
Nye Greens member Thomas Rasmussen said he is “hopeful” that Stein will make it to Nevada’s ballot.
“She needs to be there so that Nevadans can have more choice in this election,” he said.
Borghese said members of the Nevada Green Party plan to do “everything they can” to get Stein on the ballot. If it doesn’t happen, they will focus on raising awareness of the party’s presidential candidate in other states.
“We will also be actively getting people in Nevada registered Green,” Borghese said. “Hopefully, if we have enough registered voters, we will never have to do this again.”