A slew of amendments to the county’s governing document are looking to pass with sizable leads, as all but one proposed by the Clark County Charter Review Commission have a majority of voters in support of the measures.
As of the third count of ballots released on Nov. 4, eight of nine amendments to the Clark County Charter were passing with at least 60% approval.
Amendment 1, which would make county executive elected offices nonpartisan, had about 67.1% of ballots cast in favor of the measure.
Amendment 2, which would make the county council positions nonpartisan, garnered about 65.6% of votes in favor.
Amendment 3, which would create a fifth Clark County Council district, had 72.1% of voters in support of the change.
Amendment 4, which would increase the frequency of charter review periods from 10 years to five years, was passing with about 63.9% of the vote.
Amendment 5, which would establish an ethics code for Clark County government and an autonomous review process for ethics complaints, had 68.2% of voters in support of the move.
Amendment 6, which would establish an office of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), was failing with about 44% of voters in support.
Amendment 7, which would make minor corrections to the charter, saw about 71.1% of voters in favor.
Amendment 8, which clarifies the initiative and referendum process in the county, had about 78.5% of voters in support.
Amendment 9, which would restrict eligibility to vote on initiatives and referendums that affect specific geographical regions, was passing with about 71.9% of voters in favor of the measure.
Charter review commissioner Kelsey Potter said she was surprised by some of the results. Potter said she anticipated the results to be closer on the amendment to make county council nonpartisan and also on the amendment that would increase the frequency of charter review.
“I was surprised that we just pushed through with such big margins on a majority of those amendments,” Potter said.
Fellow review commissioner Maureen Winningham also expressed some surprise based on the feedback she heard prior to the vote. She said involved citizens who focus on the “inside baseball” of politics were more leery of making positions nonpartisan, though voters at large were generally more in favor of the switch.
“But when I talked to my neighbors, (they’re) sick of fighting with their brother-in-law over dinner. They are tired of partisanship,” Winningham said. “They want to get to know the candidate and the content of the candidate’s character, not just the initial after their name.”
For the one failing amendment, Charter Review Commission Co-chair Chuck Green believed there may be some “DEI fatigue” among citizens.
“There’s been so much out there. It’s so polarized,” Green said. “I think people just want to have government work to institute rules and codes and guidelines so that there is social equity rather than formally putting it in the structure of the government.”
Potter said she heard concerns on the amendment for a lack of defined structure that the DEI office would have. Winningham said some voters were concerned over the cost.
Though one amendment is likely to fail, Green noted the approval of changes to county charters isn’t a given, pointing to San Juan County which had the majority of its charter proposals fail.
“I think overall we listened to our constituents because six out of seven of the amendments were right on the money,” Winningham said.
The other two amendments were put forth by the Clark County Council. Potter said the votes on the amendments was an exercise in agency among voters.
“Right now, a lot of people feel like they don’t really have a voice in government, and I think being able to vote on these amendments and have a voice directly on how your county government is run, it’s kind of empowering,” Potter said.
Though changes will range from dropping party preferences to adding a brand-new council district, Green said the county got through the initial shift to a home rule charter after voter approval in 2014.
“These are pretty substantial changes … but the charter will still function. The county will still function, it’ll just be a change in how things look,” Green said.
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