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December 18, 2018

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Election Guide 2016: Making sense of the November ballot

Early Voting: 2014 Primary Election

Steve Marcus

Voters cast their ballots during early voting at the Meadows Mall on Monday, June 2, 2014.

When did early voting start?

Oct. 22, running through Nov. 4. For details about where to vote, visit clarkcountynv.gov/election/Pages/EV.aspx.

What if I vote Nov. 8?

Your designated polling place will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re in line by 7 p.m., you’ll be allowed to vote no matter how long it takes to get to the booth. To find out where you need to be, visit nvsos.gov/votersearch.

Is it too late to register to vote?

Yes. The deadline was Oct. 18.

What about absentee voting?

Any registered Nevada voter may vote by mail. Download a request form from the Clark County Registrar of Voters or call to have a request card sent (clarkcountynv.gov/election/Pages/MAILBALLOTS.aspx; 702-455-6552). The request must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 1, and the completed ballot must be received by 7 p.m. Nov. 8.

Do I need ID?

Only if the data you provided for your registration doesn’t match what’s on file with the DMV and Social Security Administration. “ID Required” will appear on your sample ballot.

Nevada may be small in population, but some of the fiercest battles in politics are playing out on its stage.

In the race for the presidency, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are essentially tied in Nevada polls, and their campaigns are in overdrive trying to secure crucial electoral votes. The struggle for control of the U.S. Senate and the balance of power in the state’s congressional delegation has taken over local television screens and mailboxes. To top it off, Democrats are gunning to take back the Nevada Legislature.

Operatives and pundits agree that 2016 is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Many voters are deeply unhappy with their party’s presidential nominee, so exactly how many voters turn out — and which ones — is anyone’s guess.

Choices made in Nevada, among the battleground states that could swing the election, will have nationwide effects. Beyond those contests for the highest offices, we’ll cast votes deciding where the Silver State stands on issues that will shape our future.

 

Presidential nominees on Nevada issues

Immigration

According to the American Immigration Council, “Immigrants make up roughly 1 in 5 Nevadans, and 47.4 percent of them are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote.” Nevada also has the highest share of undocumented immigrants of any state, around 210,000 people, more than two-thirds hailing from Mexico.

• Hillary Clinton: “We have 11 million undocumented people. They have 4 million American citizen children, 15 million people. (Trump) said as recently as a few weeks ago in Phoenix that every undocumented person would be subject to deportation. … It means you would have to have a massive law enforcement presence, where law enforcement officers would be going school to school, home to home, business to business, rounding up people who are undocumented. … I think that is an idea that is not in keeping with who we are as a nation. I think it’s an idea that would rip our country apart.”

• Donald Trump: “(We) cannot give amnesty. Now, I want to build the wall. We need the wall. And the Border Patrol, ICE, they all want the wall. We stop the drugs. We shore up the border. One of my first acts will be to get all of the drug lords, all of the bad ones — we have some bad, bad people in this country that have to go out. We’re going to get them out; we’re going to secure the border. And once the border is secured, at a later date, we’ll make a determination as to the rest. But we have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.”

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, in Newtown, Pa.

Second Amendment

One of Nevada's ballot questions proposes stricter regulation of sales and transfers of guns by expanding the requirement for federal background checks.

• Clinton: “I’m not looking to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not looking to take people’s guns away. But I am looking for more support for the reasonable efforts that need to be undertaken to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

• Trump: “We need to fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system. ... The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.”

Energy

The solar industry has gone through dramatic expansion and contraction in Nevada, as late last year the Public Utilities Commission approved a price hike for most solar customers while reducing incentives on excess energy sent back to the grid. National rooftop-solar companies pulled out of the state as a result, though regulators in September restored favorable rates to existing customers. With many individuals and companies looking to utilize more renewables, the new president’s energy policy is a flashpoint.

• Clinton: “I think it’s important we give investors certainty and we give consumers choice. We’re never going to transition to clean renewable energy if we don’t do that. Just look at the jobs that are being created. Nationwide, 174,000 jobs in the last few years. Here in Nevada, 5,900 jobs — 3,900 just last year. This is a win-win to move us away from fossil fuels, to diversify the grid, to give homeowners a chance to be empowered to do something about their own energy usage and put people to work.”

• Trump: “We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one. Now, look, I’m a great believer in all forms of energy, but we’re putting a lot of people out of work. Our energy policies are a disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt. You can’t do what (Hillary Clinton is) looking to do with $20 trillion in debt.”

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Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016.

Federal lands

Who should have control over the vast expanses of public land, the states or the federal government? The issue is particularly fraught in Nevada, where 84.9 percent of land — the greatest share of any state — is federally owned. Utah isn’t even a close second with 64.9 percent. Compare that to New York or Iowa, where only 0.3 percent of the land is owned by the federal government. The dilemma of the West? Who should manage the wide-open space.

• Clinton: “We certainly should not be giving in to this ideological argument from the right that we need to put more public lands into private hands. I don’t agree with that.”

• Trump: “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do. I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold.”

Marijuana

While 25 states, including Nevada, allow the medicinal use of marijuana, only Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Washington, D.C., grant adults the right to grow, purchase and consume the drug for other reasons. Nevada is among five states deciding whether to legalize recreational adult use, with high-profile proponents and opponents and looming questions about societal effects.

• Clinton: “I think what the states are doing right now needs to be supported, and I absolutely support all the states that are moving toward medical marijuana, moving toward — absolutely — legalizing it for recreational use.”

• Trump: “I think that should be a state issue, state by state. … Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

The housing bubble

The Las Vegas metro area hit bottom in 2012, when home prices had plunged 63 percent from the 2006 peak and 71 percent of homeowners were underwater. Prices have gradually rebounded from the depths of the recession, and the number of troubled mortgages has dropped more than 25 percent. But a September report showed that to regain peak value, local homes would have to jump more than 40 percent in price — the biggest remaining gap of any hard-hit city.

• Clinton: After the first debate, the Democratic nominee was criticized for saying that George W. Bush tax cuts spurred the economic crash while neglecting to mention the pitfalls of the mortgage market. The Washington Post surmised it might have been a sensitive issue, referencing a 1995 Clinton administration policy “to encourage home ownership by pushing for less-stringent credit requirements for middle-class families.” But Clinton also took regulators to task for lax oversight of Wall Street and emphasized the weakening of the middle class. During an August rally at a Las Vegas Union hall, Clinton said: “No place was affected more than right here in Clark County, was it? Nobody. And I remember, because in ’08 I walked some of those streets and some of those neighborhoods and I met with people who were on the brink of or having been foreclosed. And it was heartbreaking. And we still have work to do.”

• Trump: The Republican nominee took heat this spring for comments made in a Trump University audiobook from 2006, answering a question about a potential bubble burst with, “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy.” He has defended this and similar comments by pointing out that he’s a businessman who never thought he’d run for office. And in the first presidential debate in September, Trump said that despite some signs of positive growth, the economy is cruising for another bruising thanks to Democratic policies on foreign manufacturing. “Believe me, we’re in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit that’s going to come crashing down. We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble. And we better be awfully careful.”

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Congressmen, including Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., left, and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., second from left, tour Yucca Mountain, Thursday, April 9, 2015, near Mercury. Several members of Congress toured the proposed radioactive waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Yucca Mountain

The remote mountain in Nye County was designated as a nuclear waste repository in the 1980s, and over the next decade the Department of Energy drilled a 5-mile tunnel into the rock and started testing how nuclear waste would store there. But between the efforts of President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the project is essentially off the table. That could change, though, with Reid retiring and a new president in the White House.

• Clinton: “Yucca should be off the table because I think there are enough questions about its suitability as a site, and there is also such organized opposition to its use that it doesn’t really make sense.”

• Trump: “I’m very friendly with this area. I have the hotel here, I will tell you I’m going to take a look at (Yucca Mountain) because so many people here are talking about it. I’ll take a look at it, and the next time you interview me, I’ll have an answer.”

 

Congressional races to watch

Four members of Nevada’s six-person Congressional delegation are Republicans — three from the House of Representatives and one from the Senate. Democrats are hoping to take control of the delegation and, on a large scale, of Congress as a whole this year.

U.S. Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto (D) vs. Joe Heck (R), Harry Reid (D) is the incumbent

Republicans and Democrats are warring over retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s seat. The outcome could determine which party controls the Senate (FiveThirtyEight reported that Democrats needed five seats if Trump wins, four if Clinton wins). And wresting the seat away from the party of Reid, the leader of Senate Democrats, would be a symbolic victory for Republicans.

As a result, the ad war between Cortez Masto, Heck and the organizations backing them has been vitriolic: Cortez Masto has fended off repeated attacks for not addressing Nevada’s rape kit backlog as attorney general, while Heck faces ongoing criticism for voting to defund Planned Parenthood as a congressman. Nevertheless, both candidates have profiles that could prove appealing to voters. Heck is a doctor and brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve who won his congressional elections by substantial margins. Cortez Masto, as the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, would be the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Recent polls show Heck with a slight edge, though typically within the margin of error. A significant challenge for Cortez Masto is improving name recognition with those most likely to back her: A September poll showed 58 percent of Hispanics who know of Cortez Masto were supporting her, but 38 percent weren’t familiar enough to have an opinion. The latest shakeup? Heck said he could no longer support Donald Trump and called on him to withdraw from the race, drawing the ire of some of the presidential nominee’s staunchest supporters in Nevada.

1st and 2nd Congressional Districts: Incumbents Dina Titus (D) and Mark Amodei (R) are expected to easily win re-election

Titus (facing Republican Mary Perry) and Amodei (facing Democrat Chip Evans) are favored in their heavily Democratic and Republican districts, respectively.

Titus represents the 1st Congressional District in the heart of Las Vegas — including the Strip — where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than double. Amodei represents the entire northern half of Nevada in the 2nd Congressional District, which has about 43,000 more Republicans than Democrats.

3rd Congressional District: Jacky Rosen (D) vs. Danny Tarkanian (R), Joe Heck (R) is the incumbent

This district has elected a Republican congressman for the past three cycles but swung for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. The race is wide open this year, pitting Rosen, a synagogue leader, against Tarkanian, a businessman and son of late UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

It’s Tarkanian’s fifth bid for public office, though he’s never won a general election. He ran for Nevada Senate in 2004, Nevada secretary of state in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2010. He also briefly sought a seat on the Nevada Board of Regents but withdrew before the election. Rosen is running for the first time. The former computer programmer was encouraged by Reid after several prominent Democrats declined to run. Though the district has an almost even number of Republicans and Democrats, a Democrat has won the seat only once (Dina Titus in 2008).

It has been difficult for opponents to lob substantive attacks at either Tarkanian or Rosen, since neither has a record to pick apart. Tarkanian has mainly faced attacks over his prior business dealings, while Rosen’s critics have tried to paint her as nothing more than Reid’s puppet. Tarkanian’s leg up is his famous last name. Rosen’s goal will be overcoming that advantage, courting moderates by framing Tarkanian as an ultra-conservative.

4th Congressional District: Ruben Kihuen (D) vs. incumbent Cresent Hardy (R)

A significant share of this district’s residents live in northern Clark County, while the rest are scattered across the middle of the state in Lyon, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties.

Hardy, a fifth-generation farmer-rancher, served in a number of public offices in the district before making the jump to state Assembly. In 2014, he challenged then-Congressman Steven Horsford, a Democrat, for the seat and won in an upset. Kihuen, a state senator who has served in the Legislature for a decade, is a protégé of Reid and backed by the powerful Culinary Union.

Hardy is typically conservative in the same way Kihuen is typically liberal. Throughout the election cycle, Kihuen has hit Hardy hard over his “100 percent” support for Donald Trump — which Hardy revoked after a tape of Trump making lewd remarks about women came to light in early October. The Republican congressman doesn’t say much about his opponent, but his supporters are taking Kihuen to task over his ties to a Las Vegas city councilman under FBI investigation. Kihuen also works for a public relations firm (which he’s on leave from) that has been subpoenaed as part of the investigation.

Hardy is ranked the No. 2 most endangered congressman by news outlet Roll Call, and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball marks the seat “leans Democratic.”

 

Legislative races to watch

In Clark County alone, more than 70 races for public office will be decided in this election. Many aren’t considered competitive due to voter-registration breakdowns in the districts, the dominance of certain candidates or a lack of opposition on the ticket. The following roundup covers races that are tight or pivotal to power in the Legislature.

State Assembly District 4: Richard McArthur (R) vs. John Piro (D), Michele Fiore (R) is the incumbent

This is the race to replace one of Nevada’s most charismatic Republican assemblywomen, Michele Fiore, who ran for Congress instead of seeking re-election to her Assembly seat. She is supporting McArthur, a stridently anti-tax Republican and a retired FBI special agent.

McArthur served two terms in the Assembly representing District 4, from 2008 to 2012, when he was unseated by now-state Sen. Scott Hammond in the primary. Some of McArthur’s top priorities are limited government, keeping taxes low, making English Nevada’s official language and supporting Second Amendment rights. Piro, an attorney with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, is making his first run for office. He’s a native Las Vegan who served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. In a candidate survey, he identified his top three issues as promoting clean energy, implementing criminal justice reform and fixing the health care system.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 200 registered voters

State Assembly District 5: Art Ham (R) vs. Brittney Miller (D), Kyle Stephens (R) is the incumbent

Ham, an attorney, and Miller, a middle-school teacher, are both making their first runs for public office in seeking this Summerlin-area seat, backed respectively by Republican and Democratic Assembly leadership.

A fourth-generation Nevadan, Ham identified economic diversification, creating high-skill job training programs and funding public education as top priorities in a candidate survey. He said that the 2015 Legislature made “tremendous strides” but that more needs to be done to improve Nevada’s standing in education. Miller, who has lived in Clark County for eight years, said she will prioritize school funding, attracting new industries to Nevada and strengthening public safety. She identified voter suppression across the country, attempts to limit collective bargaining and “attacks” on women’s health issues as some of the worst areas of public policy over the past four years.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 2,400 registered voters

State Assembly District 9: Steve Yeager (D) vs. incumbent David Gardner (R)

Gardner and Yeager competed in the 2014 election, which Gardner won by about 450 votes. He’s an attorney specializing in business litigation, while Yeager is deputy public defender with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office.

Gardner has been active in the Clark County School District reorganization, has proposed similar reforms to the Nevada System of Higher Education and advocated for school choice. He says he will continue to expand economic diversification efforts in Nevada. Yeager listed his top issues as fast-tracking funding for new schools, putting the clean-energy economy back on track and reforming the criminal justice system to offer help to low-level and nonviolent offenders. He also lauds police use of body cameras.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 3,000 registered voters

State Assembly District 21: Ozzie Fumo (D) vs. incumbent Derek Armstrong (R)

Armstrong faces a tough re-election attempt in a comfortably Democratic district against Fumo, who has the distinction of being O.J. Simpson’s former defense attorney.

Armstrong has served five years in the Marine Corps and is a lawyer as well, specializing in tax and business law. He chaired the Assembly’s taxation committee during the 2015 session. Fumo, making his first run for office, said in a candidate survey that his top priorities were supporting proper staffing and funding for schools, protecting the public retirement system and ensuring Nevadans could invest in solar technology. He called a 2013 legislative effort in Texas to restrict women’s access to abortion the single worst piece of legislation passed in the past four years.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 2,300 registered voters

State Assembly District 29: Lesley Cohen (D) vs. incumbent Stephen Silberkraus (R)

Cohen is going head-to-head with Silberkraus to take back the seat he won from her in 2014.

Cohen, an attorney, says the top three issues for voters in her district are bolstering public schools, improving access to health care and supporting solar energy in Nevada. In a candidate survey, Cohen called herself a “common-sense Democrat” who wanted to get things done for working families. Silberkraus co-sponsored the bill to reorganize the Clark County School District and also supported school-choice legislation last session. His top three issues include building a strong and diverse economy, focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes for college and work-training programs, and lessening regulations on small businesses.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 1,400 registered voters

State Assembly District 35: Justin Watkins (D) vs. incumbent Brent Jones (R)

Jones, a staunch anti-tax Republican who runs the Real Water bottled-water company, is seeking re-election in this southwest Clark County district.

Jones voted against Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1.4 billion tax package in 2015, criticized by opponents as the largest increase in the state’s history while justified by proponents as necessary to increase funding for education. His top priorities include supporting school choice, opposing taxes and ensuring businesses aren’t over-regulated. Watkins is an attorney making his first bid for office. He said in a candidate survey that his “temperament and ability to work across party lines” distinguished him from Jones. Among his primary issues are reforming the Nevada System of Higher Education, ensuring Nevada has a sufficient supply of trained workers and seeing that infrastructure keeps up with the demands of a developing state.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 2,500 registered voters

State Assembly District 41: Sandra Jauregui (D) vs. Nick Phillips (R), Vicki Dooling (R) is the incumbent

Both Jauregui and Phillips are making their first runs for public office in trying to replace Dooling, who is retiring at the end of her term. Phillips was the Clark County Republican Party’s political director for two years, and Jauregui interned and later worked for Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Jauregui works in marketing and sales at Ticor Title of Nevada, serving the Hispanic real estate industry, while Phillips is self-employed and has run several small businesses.

Phillips is focused on diversifying Nevada’s economy, instituting education reform such as vocational training in schools, and prioritizing access to quality health care. He praised the breakup of the Clark County School District as one of the best policies of the past four years. In her campaign literature, Jauregui has prioritized keeping communities safe — including supporting “common-sense” background checks for gun ownership — and raising teacher pay, reducing class sizes and ensuring that students have the resources they need.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 2,800 registered voters

State Senate District 5: Incumbent Joyce Woodhouse (D) vs. Carrie Buck (R)

It’s the battle of the educators in this Henderson swing district, where incumbent Woodhouse, a retired first-grade teacher, faces Buck, a first-time candidate for public office and principal of a local charter school. (Libertarian Timothy Rex Hagan also is in the race.)

Buck champions school choice over the bureaucracy of a large district. Woodhouse opposed school choice when it came before the Legislature in 2015, calling it a “ploy by those who deplore public education and want to destroy it.”

Advantage: Democrats, by about 3,700 registered voters

State Senate District 6: Nicole Cannizzaro (D) vs. Victoria Seaman (R), Mark Lipparelli (R) is the incumbent

Seaman, a Republican assemblywoman, is eyeing a jump to the Nevada Senate. Blocking her is Cannizzaro, a Clark County deputy district attorney.

Seaman weathered a fierce primary against former Republican Assemblyman Erv Nelson, focused on how they voted on Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1.4 billion tax package. Seaman pilloried Nelson for voting to increase taxes, though she supported the final budget (made possible by that increase). Now, proponents are using that vote to tie her to the popular Republican governor, though he hasn’t endorsed her. Republicans have sought to taint Cannizzaro by noting that her lawyer husband has lobbied at the state Legislature. Cannizzaro touts herself as a safety-conscious prosecutor who will champion issues like college affordability, job creation and equal pay for equal work. She characterizes Seaman as “too extreme,” even for Republicans.

Advantage: Democrats, by about 4,700 registered voters

State Senate District 18: Alexander Marks (D) vs. incumbent Scott Hammond (R)

This northwestern Clark County district is the longest-shot pickup opportunity for Nevada Democrats as they attempt to unseat Hammond, an assistant principal who has served in the Legislature since 2010. His challenger, Marks, is an attorney born and raised in Las Vegas who most recently worked for a Las Vegas production company on labor, employment, contract and intellectual property issues.

In a candidate survey, Hammond identified his top priorities as transportation, education and reforming the juvenile justice system. Marks indicated that his experience working in gaming, entertainment and tourism distinguished him from Hammond. He identified investing in K-12 education, college affordability and economic diversification as his top three issues.

Advantage: Republicans, by about 1,900 registered voters

 

Clark County Commission

The seven-member Clark County Commission, the most powerful government body in Southern Nevada, boasts all Democrats. Will the left-leaning stronghold continue beyond Election Day? All indications point to yes.

Candidates for seats up for re-election — in Districts A, B, C and D — include incumbents with name recognition and fundraising edges. For a four-year term, the winners will play a role in overseeing the county budget, public safety services, University Medical Center and regulations on the Las Vegas Strip.

District A: Chairman Steve Sisolak (D), who’s seeking a third term on the commission, has raised millions since 2015, according to campaign expense reports. Billboards bearing his face appear in District A, which covers large portions of the south and southwest valley. Sisolak’s name has been circulated as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2018, but so far he has remained mum on his plans. “We’ll see how this election goes,” he told the Las Vegas Sun in March. His opponent is Michael Thomas (R), a retired police officer and 23-year resident of Clark County.

District B: Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D), the commission’s newest member following an appointment by Gov. Brian Sandoval last year, defeated Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross in the Democratic primary, securing her place on the ballot. She’s going up against Kevin Williams (R), a facility director for Boyd Gaming, in the district covering a large swath of the northern valley (including Mesquite, Moapa and Logandale).

District C: Larry Brown (D), who’s going for his third commission term, faces Stephen Sedlmeyer (R), a retired Navy veteran. District C includes a large section of the northwest valley.

District D: Longtime local politician Lawrence Weekly (D), who served seven years as a Las Vegas City Councilman, also is running for his third term. Then-Gov. Jim Gibbons appointed Weekly to the commission in 2007. Anthony Osnaya (R), a construction worker and small-business owner, is challenging Weekly for the seat in District D, which includes parts of western and northeastern Las Vegas as well as North Las Vegas.

Ballot questions

    • Question 1: Background Checks

      If passed (a yes vote): With some exceptions, would require federal background checks on purchases or transfers of firearms from private, unlicensed sources online, at gun shows and elsewhere. Current regulation applies only to transactions through licensed dealers.

      • Proponents say: Unregulated sales and transfers allow access to those who shouldn’t have guns, including criminals, domestic abusers and the mentally ill. By reducing such transactions, background checks would reduce crime and shootings. “Question 1 is not a punishment but a preventive measure. Question 1 will make us safer,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has said. Proponents include Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, the Nevada State Education Association and the Culinary Workers Union.

      • Opponents say: Stricter regulation would mostly affect law-abiding gun owners and buyers. Criminals will still deal among themselves and on the black market, and this paves the way for legislation to ban guns completely. “It is part of a larger national agenda to make it nearly impossible for law-abiding citizens to protect and defend themselves,” City Councilman Stavros Anthony has said. Opponents include Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen and the National Rifle Association.

    • Question 2: Recreational Marijuana

      If passed (a yes vote): Would make recreational marijuana use legal for adults 21 and older in Nevada on a date to be established by the 2017 Legislature. A September 21 KTNV/Rasmussen Reports poll of 800 likely Nevada voters showed 53 percent supported Question 2, while 39 percent opposed it and 8 percent were undecided.

      • Proponents say: It would bring significant business opportunities and tax revenue to the state while providing easier access for patients using the plant to self-medicate, reducing their dependence on prescription opiates. “For cannabis to be off the table for someone whose body cannot control these medicines is wrong,” state Sen. Pat Spearman has said.

      • Opponents say: It would provide a haven for illegal drug cartels, and edibles would pose a particular risk to children who might not distinguish between regular and marijuana-infused snacks. “Nevada’s future success depends on a better education system and a well-prepared workforce. Commercializing marijuana and trying to turn the Vegas Strip into the Amsterdam of the West will harm both efforts,” former state Assemblyman Pat Hickey has said.

    • Question 3: Energy Choice

      If passed (a yes vote): Would create a competitive retail energy market, allowing consumers to purchase electricity from suppliers other than NV Energy. Voters would have to approve the ballot measure as a constitutional amendment this year and then again in 2018 in order for a competitive market to be created by 2023.

      • Proponents say: Consumers would be able to shop dozens or even hundreds of suppliers, enabling customization, cost savings and easier integration of renewable energy with the grid. Proponents include gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International and tech companies such as Switch and Tesla.

      • Opponents say: NV Energy is a regulated monopoly that plans years into the future to cover demand, insulating its customers from the risks of an open system subject to market pressures and volatility. Opponents include the Nevada State AFL-CIO, whose lobbyists filed a pre-emptive lawsuit to block the measure after the election.

    • Question 4: Medical Patient Tax Relief

      If passed (a yes vote): Would eliminate a state tax on doctor-prescribed medical equipment related to oxygen delivery and mobility, cutting costs for patients. As it would require an amendment to the Nevada Constitution, voters would need to pass the measure twice, in 2016 and 2018.

      • Proponents say: It would stop an unnecessary sales tax on necessities such as wheelchairs, infant apnea monitors and oxygen tanks, helping Nevada’s “most vulnerable populations” better manage the high costs of health care.

      • Opponents say: It would remove valuable tax dollars from the state's economy, affecting schools, police and fire departments, libraries and parks. To make up for the lost revenue, other state and county taxes could increase.

    • Question 5: The Gas Tax

      If passed (a yes vote): Would continue Clark County's indexing of fuel taxes for the next 10 years as a way to improve and maintain roadways. “Fuel revenue indexing” allows the county to adjust motor vehicle and special fuel taxes to an averaged annual rate of inflation not to exceed 7.8 percent.

      In September 2013, the Clark County Commission approved allowing the fuel tax to increase with inflation for each of the next three years. If Question 5 is approved, it would extend fuel revenue indexing through Dec. 31, 2026. The Regional Transportation Commission expects continuation to cost an additional 2.8 cents per gallon in 2018.

      • Proponents say: It would improve roads, reduce traffic and improve commute times and costs.

      • Opponents say: Commuters will not save money. Instead, they may be forced to pay billions in increased fuel taxes to the government. And added construction utilizing those funds will cause more traffic and delays.

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