The Energy Choice Initiative, the most expensive ballot question in Nevada history, has gone down in defeat following Tuesday’s midterm losing with nearly two-thirds of voters opposed, a shocking turnaround after the same measure passed by 72 to 28 percent in 2016.
The initiative, which proposed amending the state’s Constitution requiring a transition away from the current electric monopoly model to a competitive retail electric market by 2023, drove millions of dollars worth of TV, digital and radio ads over a complex energy policy into the homes of Nevada voters, who in turn decided to reject an initiative that many of them likely voted for just two years ago.
The key difference came in the form of an unprecedented $63 million spent by the state’s primarily electric utility, NV Energy.
After staying neutral on the measure in the last election cycle, the utility swung back hard, and spent more money to defeat the ballot question than raised by any other candidate.
The measure was largely funded by two entities with a tense history with the utility — the Las Vegas Sands and data center giant Switch. Both companies chafed when assessed multimillion dollar exit fees after applying to leave the utility in 2015. Although the two companies put up a similarly large sum — nearly $33 million — the measure was overwhelmingly rejected by voters on Tuesday, with fewer than a third of voters voting in favor of the measure.
The other five ballot measures saw more success on Tuesday, with initiatives exempting sales tax on feminine hygiene products, requiring automatic voter registration during trips to the DMV and a slew for protections of crime victims all becoming law.
Here’s a look at how all six ballot measures fared on Election Day:
Question 1, also known as “Marsy’s Law,” sailed on the statewide ballot with more than 60 percent of voters in approval.
The measure would enshrine in the state Constitution the right for victims and people close to victims to be informed about hearings in their case.
It also specifies that restitution money is paid to victims before governments collect other fees.
Voters also backed Question 2, also known as the “Pink Tax” exemption, by a little more than 56 percent on Tuesday.
The measure would end the sales tax on sanitary napkins and tampons in the state.
Proponents say these products are a basic medical necessity and the taxes on them are discriminatory because the products are only used by women.
Opponents say that an exemption will reduce tax revenue in the state.
A measure that would mandate a competitive retail electric market in Nevada fell far short after an extremely expensive campaign and a victory two years ago.
Just two years after approving it on a 72 to 28 percent split, more than 67 percent of voters rejected Question 3, the Energy Choice Initiative.
Their decision was largely driven by a barrage of ads that said it would raise electric rates, create instability and present a major risk.
Counting both sides, about $100 million was spent in the fight over the proposed constitutional amendment, making it the most expensive ballot measure.
Voters again gave their blessing to Question 4, which would exempt durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and oxygen tanks from the sales tax.
Voters also approved Question 5, a measure that seeks to implement “automatic” voter registration, with a little more than 59 percent of the vote.
As part of the initiative, people would be registered to vote or have their voter information updated when applying for a new driver’s license or ID card, unless they opted out. It takes effect immediately.
More than 59 percent of voters backed Question 6, which seeks to boost the state’s use of renewable energy.
The initiative requires Nevada to gradually raise its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030.
This would double the state’s current mandate of 25 percent by 2025. It needs to be approved again in 2020 to be added to the state’s constitution.