Gennady Stolyarov II
The United States Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party offer the following brief statements of position on the ballot questions currently before Nevada voters in the 2020 General Election.
Nevada State Question 1 – Removal of Constitutional Status of Board of Regents: Neutral
Nevada State Question 2 – Marriage Regardless of Gender Amendment: Support
Nevada State Question 3 – State Board of Pardons Commissioners Amendment: Support
Nevada State Question 4 – State Constitutional Rights of Voters Amendment: Oppose
Nevada State Question 6 – Renewable Energy Standards Initiative: Oppose
Note: There is no substantive Question 5 on the Nevada ballot; Question 5 was intentionally left blank.
Nevada State Ballot Question 1 – Removal of Constitutional Status of Board of Regents – Neutral
Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) remove provisions governing the election and duties of the Board of Regents and its control and management of the State University and require the Legislature to provide by law for the State University’s governance, control, and management and the reasonable protection of individual academic freedom at Nevada’s public higher education institutions; and (2) revise the administration of certain federal land grant proceeds dedicated for the benefit of certain departments of the State University?” (More information on BallotPedia.)
Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party are generally neutral as to the structure of oversight over educational institutions and so are indifferent as to whether Nevada universities are overseen by a separately elected Board of Regents or directly by the Legislature. There is a favorable component of Ballot Question 1 which would mandate for the Legislature to provide by law for “the reasonable protection of individual academic freedom at Nevada’s public higher education institutions” – which would be in addition to any such protections for academic freedom that exist at the U.S. federal level. The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party are supportive of strengthening protections for individual academic freedom; however, if Ballot Question 1 passes, it is not clear what form these protections would take or how substantive they would be. The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party do not see any specific harms arising from Ballot Question 1 but would generally consider the issues involved to be outside the purview of specifically transhumanist political advocacy. Therefore, members are encouraged to vote their conscience on this ballot question by consulting their own individual understandings of the relevant matters.
Nevada State Ballot Question 2 – Marriage Regardless of Gender Amendment – Support
Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) remove an existing provision recognizing marriage as only between a male person and a female person and require the State of Nevada and its political subdivisions to recognize marriages of and issue marriage licenses to couples, regardless of gender; (2) require all legally valid marriages to be treated equally under the law; and (3) establish a right for religious organizations and clergy members to refuse to perform a marriage and provide that no person is entitled to make any claim against them for exercising that right?” (More information on BallotPedia.)
Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party support Ballot Question 2, which is essentially a recognition of the existing United States law, stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. De facto Nevada already recognizes same-sex marriages, and for the sake of consistency, the Nevada Constitution should also offer this recognition de jure. Moreover, Article XII of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, supports the right of marriage for all “sentient entities of full age and competency” – without distinction as to the genders of the sentient entities involved.
Nevada State Ballot Question 3 – State Board of Pardons Commissioners Amendment – Support
Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to: (1) require the State Board of Pardons Commissioners—whose members are the Governor, the justices of the Nevada Supreme Court, and the Nevada Attorney General—to meet at least quarterly; (2) authorize each member of the Board to submit matters for consideration by the Board; and (3) authorize the Board to grant pardons and make other clemency decisions by a majority vote of its members without requiring the Governor to be part of the majority of the Board that votes in favor of such decisions?” (More information on BallotPedia.)
Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party support Ballot Question 3 due to the provisions in Article VI, Section XIV, of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform and Article I, Section X, of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform: “The United States Transhumanist Party [or Nevada Transhumanist Party] supports efforts to significantly reduce the massive incarcerated population in America by using innovative technologies to monitor criminals outside of prison. All mandatory sentencing laws should be abolished, and each individual should be sentenced based solely on the consideration of the nature of that individual’s crime, its context, and its severity.” More frequent meetings of the State Board of Pardons Commissioners would allow more frequent consideration of circumstances that genuinely justify releasing an individual from prison. This would allow opportunities to lower the excessive incarcerated population in Nevada. Furthermore, the ability to make clemency decisions by a majority of the votes of the State Board of Pardons Commissioners would also enable individuals to be released when the prevailing opinion of the Commissioners is that the facts of the situation justify such release – again contributing to the reduction of needless incarcerations.
Nevada State Ballot Question 4 – State Constitutional Rights of Voters Amendment – Oppose
Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended by adding a new section guaranteeing specific voting rights to all qualified and registered voters in the State?”
Per BallotPedia, “The amendment would provide qualified persons who are registered to vote with a constitutional right to receive and cast a ballot that is written in a ‘format that allows the clear identification of candidates’ and ‘accurately records the voter’s preference in the selection of candidates.’ It also would provide registered voters with other constitutional rights, including:
(a) to have questions about voting procedures answered and have voting procedures posted in a visible location at the polling place;
(b) to vote without intimidation, threats, or coercion;
(c) to vote during any early-voting period or on election day if the voter is in line at the time polls close;
(d) to return a spoiled ballot and receive a replacement ballot;
(e) to request assistance in voting if necessary;
(f) to a sample ballot ‘which is accurate, informative and delivered in a timely manner;’
(g) to receive instruction on how to use voting equipment;
(h) to equal access to the elections system without discrimination, including on the basis of ‘race, age, disability, military service, employment or overseas residence;’
(i) to a ‘uniform, statewide standard for counting and recounting all votes accurately;’ and
(j) to have ‘complaints about elections and election contests resolved fairly, accurately and efficiently.’”
Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: While the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party consider the intentions of Ballot Question 4 to be laudable – who could oppose transparency, clarity and freedom from intimidation? – some of the proposed constitutional protections could, as an unintended consequence, entrench an already-obsolete paper-based voting system which should, as soon as the technology is viable and deployable at scale, be replaced with an electronic, blockchain-based system using which people could securely verify their identities and vote from the comfort of their homes. The above-listed protections already exist in Nevada statute, which is adequate to the circumstances and would be more readily open to amendments as the technological possibilities would suggest to be proper, as contrasted with a Constitutional provision which would be extremely difficult to amend once enacted.
The argument of the opponents of Ballot Question 4, as published in the sample ballot provided to Nevada voters, is persuasive: “There is a reason that the voting rights listed in Question 4 exist in statute and have not been added to the Nevada Constitution: these voting rights, while vitally important, are not timeless in their structure or application, and the forms they take may change substantially as the ways in which we vote and conduct elections evolve. Future advances in technology will likely make several of the voting matters addressed by Question 4 – such as written ballots, polling places, and even in-person voting – obsolete.”
Nevada State Ballot Question 6 – Renewable Energy Standards Initiative – Oppose
Wording of Ballot Question: “Shall Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require, beginning in calendar year 2022, that all providers of electric utility services who sell electricity to retail customers for consumption in Nevada generate or acquire incrementally larger percentages of electricity from renewable energy resources so that by calendar year 2030 not less than 50 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by each provider to its retail customers in Nevada comes from renewable energy resources?“ (More information on BallotPedia.)
Position of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party: The U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party opposes Ballot Question 6. While the U.S. Transhumanist Party and Nevada Transhumanist Party support economical renewable energy and the acceleration of efforts to develop technologies to render as much of our energy supply renewable as possible, the ability to affordably generate 50 percent of the total electricity through renewable energy resources is ultimately a technological challenge, not a political one. If the technology is ready, and the market is robust and competitive enough to deploy it to consumers at more attractive prices than fossil-fuel energy, then a 50-percent or greater renewable proportion of electricity will be achieved by 2030 without the need for a mandate. If, however, the technology cannot yet render renewable energy competitive with fossil fuels, then the only effect of the mandate would be to push up costs and constrict supply of electricity to consumers. The surest way to bring about a future of greater renewable energy in Nevada is to repeal the NV Energy monopoly which has been standing in its way. Through competition, both technological and marketing innovations will thrive and will deliver renewable energy solutions to consumers.
Gennady Stolyarov II is the Chairman of the United States Transhumanist Party and the Chief Executive of the Nevada Transhumanist Party.
This post may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License, which requires that credit be given to the author, Gennady Stolyarov II. Find out about Mr. Stolyarov here.