There are two questions on the November ballot for voters to decide upon, but there is a chance they will see three additional measures. Three groups filed petitions for ballot initiatives or referendum, over energy and health care controversies, ahead of the Tuesday, June 21st deadline. Now the Secretary of State's Office is working to confirm that the signatures on the petitions qualify to make the ballot.
One petition is a referendum that would overturn a May ruling by the Public Utilities Commission. That's when the PUC modified a December 2015 ruling to cut solar reimbursement rates and raised usage fees. The PUC said in May that it would phase those changes in over 12 years, rather than the four years they decided upon in December 2015. So if passed, solar rates before the December 2015 PUC ruling would be reinstated.
Another petition is the Energy Choice Initiative that would eliminate NV Energy's monopoly on the electricity market in the Silver State. If approved, the legislature would need to establish an open, competitive electricity market by 2023.
The third is the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act which would add items to the list of medical supplies that are sales-tax exempt. Right now, only medications and prosthetics are exempt, but the new act would add "durable medical equipment" such as oxygen tanks and wheel chairs to the list.
Each petition needs more than 55,000 signatures with at least 13,000 coming from each congressional district. Then the secretary of state's office works with each county to confirm the signatures.
We spoke with the Secretary of State's Office to get a breakdown of the counting process. First, the county does a raw count, and submits a total number to the Secretary of State's Office. The counties have four business days to submit the raw count.
The Secretary of State adds them all up and makes sure there are enough signatures. If there are, each county then confirms the signatures. The county takes either five percent or 5,000 of the total signatures depending on which number is greater. Staff then checks to see if each of those in the sample is a registered voter and that their signature matches the one on the petition. They have nine business days for that.
If 100 percent of the signatures are confirmed the petition goes to voters in November. If less than 90 percent are confirmed, the petition fails. If the confirmation percentage is between 90 and 100 percent, the county staff has to confirm each signature submitted. They have 12 business days for this step.
The new signature totals would then go to the secretary of state's office for final verification and if they meet the minimum requirements the petition is added to the ballot. There is an appeals process if the ballot fails after the second or third step of counting.
With each step of the process and the potential for weekends, the entire process could take up to 29 days, meaning we should know exactly which questions will be on our November ballot by mid July.
You may read the petitions as written below: