How Carson supervisors are elected will go to the ballot

The Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted to support a ballot question for the 2014 election that will ask voters whether they want to change how supervisors are elected.

The question would provide for a ward-only vote for supervisor candidates in the primary, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election.

In the general election, all Carson City voters still would vote on all five races.

Under the charter review committee recommendation, the two top vote-getters in the primary would advance to the general election, even if one of them received more than 50 percent. In most elections, a candidate who gets more than half the vote in the primary is deemed elected and doesn't have to run in the general.

Members agreed since the issue returns practically every two years, they should put it to the people to decide.

Supervisor Shelly Aldean said a similar issue was sent to voters in 1992. That issue failed. But she and other members agreed that since the issue was very close, they have no problem sending it to the voters again.

They also acknowledged, however, that the next board elected in the November election could decide not to put the issue to the ballot.

Board members including Aldean expressed opposition to the plan pushed by state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, in the 2011 Legislature that would mandate ward voting in both the primary and general elections in Reno, North Las Vegas and Carson City. Members said that might be fine for larger cities, but the capital is too small. They also said the general election should be decided citywide.

Supervisor Molly Walt said that before the issue gets to the ballot, Clerk/Recorder Alan Glover and his staff will have to figure out how much the change would cost. Glover told the board that this coming election, the entire city has just one version of the ballot.

If the rules were changed, he said the primary election would have five different sample, absentee and primary ballots, greatly increasing printing costs and the cost of programming electronic voting machines.

The board declined to seek a charter change that would make the audit committee mandatory instead of just created by ordinance.

Although the charter review committee reviewed that proposal and recommended it, the audit committee was not asked to weigh in on the idea.

The board agreed to take up the issue again after the audit committee makes its recommendation.


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