Fair Maps Nevada is seeking to place an initiative on the November 2020 ballot to create an independent citizens redistricting commission. Due to the restrictions on in-person interactions and social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to allow them to circulate the initiative petition and collect signatures electronically, as well as to extend the deadline for signature gathering. Under current Nevada law, obtaining placement on the ballot requires at least 10% of the number of voters that voted in the most recent general election to sign the petition before June 24, 2020. The plaintiffs argue that these requirements place severe restrictions and an undue burden on their right to engage in political speech, violating both the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Nevada Constitution.
A hearing was held remotely on May 21, 2020 on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to extend the signature submission deadline and collect signatures electronically. On May 29, 2020, the district court partially granted a preliminary injunction, extending the signature submission deadline and holding that the deadline under the circumstances of COVID-19 is unconstitutional. The new deadline is August 5, 2020. The judge declined to allow for the collection of electronic signatures.