(David Mansdoerfer) – Today, Citizen Outreach started a petition calling for Governor Sandoval to convene a special session to complete the redistricting process.
According to Nevada Constitution, the authority over redistricting lies solely with the Nevada State Legislature. Yet, during the 76th legislative session, Democrats and Republicans failed to come to a consensus on redistricting plans. Due to this, the court system is now in the process of deciding the fate of the redistricting process.
As the petition notes, “this can end in one of two ways.” Either, the court orders the legislature convenes in a special session to complete the redistricting process by passing legislation that the Governor will sign. Or, the court system comes out with a redistricting map that might be unacceptable to one or both parties, setting the stage for further litigation.
First, should the residents of Nevada stand by and watch judges step in and determine who votes in what district? Second, should residents also stand by and let the state legislature pick and choose which sections of the Nevada State Constitution they want to follow, without the traditional requirement of a Gubernatorial signature? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding no.
Calling a special session of the legislature will help to expedite this process and ensure that both sides come to an agreement. Without both sides coming to an agreement on this issue, it is likely that this process could spend months in the court system.
On top of this, it is important to note that forcing the Nevada legislature to do their jobs in the redistricting process isn’t a partisan idea. Several political pundits, including editorials in the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Review Journal, have also called for a legislative special session.
It is time for the legislature to do their jobs. We understand that there will be partisan bickering and indecision during this process. However, unless we let the legislature go through the redistricting process, both sides are unlikely to be happy with the outcome.
State Senator’s Ruben Kihuen and John Oceguera have already declared their intention to run for congress. Their first task should be drawing the lines to determine which district they will be running in.
You can sign the petition here.
(Mr. Mansdoerfer is the Director of Legislative Affairs for Citizen Outreach. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy with an emphasis in international relations and state & local policy from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. You can follow him on Twitter at @DPMANSDOERFER)