(Katelynn Richardson) – All three of Nevada’s state ballot initiatives appear to have the majority of voter support, based on Thursday morning’s vote counts.
Based on the incomplete counts, 57.27% of voters (480,339 votes) selected yes on Question 1 and 42.73% (358,372 votes) voted no. Yes votes lead by a greater margin on Question 1 than any other ballot question in the state.
On Question 2, 54.17% (454,414 voters) voted yes and 45.83% (384,470) chose no.
Question 3 maintains majority support by the lowest margin with 51.7% (434,681 votes) voting yes and 48.3% (406,022 votes) voting no.
Question 1 would add an Equal Rights Ammendment to the Nevada constitution that guarantees rights will not be denied based on “race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.”
The initiative was opposed by a number of conservative organizations, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Nevada Family Alliance, due to concerns that the amendments gender and gender-identity language would pave the way for taxpayer-funded abortion, men competing in women’s sports, and the coercion of religious organizations.
Pre-election polling on Question 1 consistently found strong majority support for the initiative, though one poll by the Rasmussen Reports and the Capitol Resource Institute found 67% would oppose it if they knew it would allow men in women’s sports.
If it passes, Nevada’s Equal Rights Amendment will be the most expansive ERA in any state due to the inclusion of gender identity.
Question 2 would amend Nevada’s Constitution to establish a $12 state minimum wage for all workers, regardless of health benefits offered by the employer, by July 1, 2024, and remove annual inflation adjustments.
Nevada’s current minimum wage is $10.50 per hour for employees without health benefits and $9.50 per hour for employees with health benefits. However, that rate is already set to rise to $12 per hour for employees without benefits and $11 per hour for employees with benefits by 2024 due to a bill passed by the Nevada State Legislature in 2019, which determined the minimum wage would increase by 75 cents annually through 2024.
If Question 2 passes, this two-tier wage system that pays workers with health benefits $1 less per hour will be eliminated and every worker will earn $12 by 2024.
Question 3 would change Nevada’s primary voting system, amending the constitution to allow open primaries and ranked-choice voting.
Primary elections in Nevada are currently closed, allowing only registered party members to vote in their party’s primary. The top candidate from each party advances to the general election.
The amendment would change this system by creating an open primary where the top five candidates advance to the general elections. In the general election, voters would no longer choose a single candidate but would rank candidates in order of preference.
Nevada’s Question 3 is among the top ten ballot measures in the nation with the greatest campaign contributions, according to Ballotpedia. A total of $21,094,351 was contributed to the initiative, $19,519,351 in favor and $1,575,000 against. Most of the money donated in support of the initiative came from out-of-state donors, according to The Nevada Independent.
If the measure passes, it would be put on the ballot again in 2024 for majority approval before officially becoming an amendment to the Nevada Constitution.
Nevada’s Clark County still has thousands of votes left to count and said final counts may not be available until next week. Mail ballots can come in through Saturday as long as they are postmarked Nov. 8, according to Clark County’s Wednesday update.
Katelynn Richardson | The Center Square