- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Organizers of a pair of conservative Nevada ballot measures failed to deliver signature petitions needed to meet Tuesday’s deadline to qualify either their health insurance or voter identification initiative for the November election.

Former Republican U.S. Senate hopeful and tea party activist Sharron Angle helped organize the proposed constitutional amendments - one seeking to require voters to present photo ID at the polls and the other to ban a state health insurance exchange in Nevada.

Voter registrars in Nevada’s two most populated counties, Clark and Washoe, confirmed they had received no petitions by 5 p.m. Tuesday. That was the deadline for ballot backers to present at least 101,667 total signatures, including a minimum of 25,417 from each of Nevada’s four congressional districts.

“Our doors are closed, and we have no reports of anybody turning any in,” Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria told The Associated Press from Las Vegas.

Because two of the districts are contained wholly within Clark County, that means neither measure can qualify for the November general election.

The petition drive for the voter ID hit a snag last month when a federal judge granted a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to change the formal description of the initiative and threw out all the signatures gathered up to that point.

Leaders of the ACLU of Nevada issued a statement Friday about the failure of the conservative activists to advance what the critics described as an attempt to “impose a discriminatory, suppressive photographic, voter ID requirement on voters in Nevada.”

“The burdens of photo ID laws fall disproportionately on voters of color, who are less likely to possess qualifying photo ID,” said Staci Pratt, the group’s legal director.

“We were pretty confident when we challenged it that they would not have the required signatures gathered in time,” ACLU Nevada executive director Tod Story told the AP.

If either constitutional measure had won in the fall, voters would have had to approve it again in 2016 to become law.

Angle, an ex-state senator who won a hotly contested GOP primary in 2010 but lost to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is the registered agent for the two political action committees created to promote the constitutional amendments - Our Vote Nevada PAC for the voter ID and Our Voice Nevada PAC for the insurance proposal. She did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

The voter ID amendment would have required voters to have photo identification to cast a ballot. It also would require the Legislature to direct government agencies to issue free cards to anyone who does not have valid, government-issued photo identification.

The other amendment, called the Healthcare Freedom Protection Act, would have prohibited state or local government entities from creating or maintaining a health exchange allowed by the federal health care reform law.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval opposed the health care reform law that requires everyone to have health insurance or face tax penalties. But he supported Nevada creating and operating its own online insurance marketplace for consumers to shop for and purchase insurance, saying it was in the state’s best interest to manage its own online portal than to cede control to the federal government, which would then bill the state.

Nevada is one of 16 states that formed their own exchanges.

Backers of a statutory initiative to legalize and tax marijuana in Nevada have until Nov. 11 to gather signatures in their petition drive aimed at bringing the matter before the Legislature next year. If the Legislature fails to act in 2015, the initiative automatically would earn a spot on the November 2016 ballot.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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