Code Section
Nevada > Statutes > State Initiative and Referendum

N.R.S. 295.045 - Petition for referendum: Filing; submission to voters at general election

Overview of Statute

This section provides for the filing and submission to voters at the general election.


1. A petition for referendum must be filed with the Secretary of State not less than 120 days before the date of the next succeeding general election.

2. The Secretary of State shall certify the questions to the county clerks.

3. The title of the statute or resolution must be set out on the ballot, and the question printed upon the ballot for the information of the voters must be as follows: “Shall the statute (setting out its title) be approved?”

4. Where a mechanical voting system is used, the title of the statute must appear on the list of offices and candidates and the statements of measures to be voted on and may be condensed to no more than 25 words.

5. The votes cast upon the question must be counted and canvassed as the votes for state officers are counted and canvassed.

      (Added to NRS by 1963, 1383; A 1977, 247; 1979, 268; 1981, 13; 1985, 1112; 2005, 2838; 2015, 3177; 2019, c.619.)

Definition [County clerk]

Except as the term is used in NRS 293.393, whenever the term “county clerk” is used in this title it means “registrar of voters” in those counties where such office has been created pursuant to the provisions of NRS 244.164.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.044.

Definition [State officer]

State officer means:

1.  The Governor;

2.  The Lieutenant Governor;

3.  The Secretary of State;

4.  The State Treasurer;

5.  The State Controller;

6.  The Attorney General;

7.  A justice of the Supreme Court;

8.  A judge of the Court of Appeals;

9.  A State Senator;

10.  A State Assemblyman or Assemblywoman;

11.  A regent of the University of Nevada;

12.  A member of the State Board of Education; or

13.  A district judge.

Definition [General election]

The election held pursuant to NRS 293.12755.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.060.

Definition [Mechanical voting system]

A system of voting whereby a voter may cast a vote:

      1.  On a device which mechanically or electronically compiles a total of the number of votes cast for each candidate and for or against each measure voted on; or

      2.  By marking a paper ballot which is subsequently counted on an electronic tabulator, counting device or computer.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.0659.

Definition [Clerk]

The election board officer designated or assigned to make the record of the election in the roster, tally list and challenge list in the precinct, district or polling place in which such officer is appointed.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.040.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293D.080.

Definition [Ballot]

The record of a voter’s preference of candidates and questions voted upon at an election. The term includes, without limitation, any paper given to a voter upon which the voter places his or her vote and any electronic storage tapes.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.025.

Definition [Canvass]

A review of the election results by the board of county commissioners or the mayor and city council or the justices of the Supreme Court, by which any errors within the election results are officially noted and the official election results are declared.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.032.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person:

      1.  Who files a declaration of candidacy;

      2.  Who files an acceptance of candidacy;

      3.  Whose name appears on an official ballot at any election; or

      4.  Who has received one or more contributions in excess of $100, regardless of whether:

      (a) The person has filed a declaration of candidacy or an acceptance of candidacy; or

      (b) The name of the person appears on an official ballot at any election.

See Nev. Rev. Stat. § 294A.005.


Nevada Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Regulations & Guidance

Attorney General's Opinions

  • AGO 97 (1913) A referendum petition which lacks the requisite number signatures should be disregarded by the secretary of state.

  • AGO 379 (1930) If a referendum petition appears to be in due form, the secretary of state must file the same since he has no authority to exercise judicial discretion to determine the legal sufficiency of the petition. The signer of a referendum petition may not withdraw his name after the petition is filed.

  • AGO 382 (1930) The repeal of a statute as the result of a referendum becomes effective immediately upon canvass of the vote.

  • AGO 5 (1943) Where a law submitted to the people as a referendum measure does not receive a majority vote of approval or disapproval, the law stands as a regular statute and can be amended or repealed by the legislature.

  • AGO 228 (1958) The sales and use tax law (see NRS ch. 372) approved by a referendum vote of the people cannot be amended except by a direct vote of the people.

  • AGO 80-4 (1980) Under NRS 293.128, 293.200, 295.015, 295.045, 295.095, 295.140, 295.205 and 306.020, currently registered voters may sign petitions in furtherance of a qualifying political party or an independent candidate, placing initiative and referendum measures on the ballot and initiating recall elections, regardless of whether these person voted in the last preceding general election.