- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A proposal that would have changed how Nevada votes for presidential candidates has been defeated, but supporters say the measure could be revived.

The Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections failed to approve SB421, voting 6-4 on Wednesday, with Republicans John Moore and Shelly Shelton joining Democrats to defeat the bill.

The measure would have allowed national political party heads to change Nevada’s current caucus system for selecting a presidential nominee to a primary election. Supporters say the change would increase voter turnout and avoid a confusing caucus process.

The bill would have created a one-day primary election without early voting, which supporters said could cost the state anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.

But Moore and Shelton said they opposed the measure and preferred the state’s caucus system.

“It’s a good system now, we shouldn’t change it,” Moore said.

Republican Sen. James Settelmeyer championed the bill and said a failure to switch over to a primary election could hurt Nevada’s elevated position with presidential candidates.

“I believe that the amount of attention and amount of information and amount of interrogation of our presidential candidates is significantly higher in a primary than a caucus,” he said.

Clark County Republican Party political director Nick Phillips testified for the bill on his own behalf and said that failing to move the state to a primary election could lead to fewer visits to the state by presidential candidates.

“We want to have the largest number of voters participate in the process,” he said.

Democrats on the committee said they were concerned with aspects of the bill that could hurt voter input.

Another bill, AB302, would also change the caucus to a primary and is alive in another Assembly committee. It’s been granted an exemption from legislative deadlines.

The committee could also reconsider the bill if some members change their minds before the session ends on Monday, Settelmeyer said.

“Nothing is ever truly dead,” he said.


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