Lawsuit Seeks to Strike Down Nevada's Recall Election Laws

LAS VEGAS -- A federal lawsuit challenging petitions to recall three Nevada state senators in districts with significant Hispanic and African-American populations alleges the effort is an unconstitutional attempt to replace the legislators with Republicans in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

The suit filed October 16 in U.S. District Court also seeks to strike down Nevada's recall laws, which do not require any cause or justification for a recall as long as the petition has signatures from 25 percent of voters in the previous election.

Recall petitions were launched in August against Democratic Sens. Joyce Woodhouse of Henderson and Nicole Cannizzaro of Las Vegas, and Sen. Patricia Farley, a former Las Vegas Republican-turned-independent.

Two African-American and three Hispanic women who live in the districts are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The defendants are two election officials who would oversee any recalls -- Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria.

Among other things, the lawsuit says the recall elections would violate the Voting Rights Act because an election do-over would disproportionately impact minorities with lower turn-out rates in recall elections.

No Nevada lawmaker has ever been successfully recalled from office, according to The Nevada Independent, which first reported the lawsuit.

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