By Mark Waite
Voter turnout in Nye County was 68.85 percent for the 2012 general election, Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino said, a drop from the 70.25 percent who voted in the 2008 election.
But the clerk’s office reported an increased voter turnout of 17,589 this election, compared to the 17,533 that voted in the 2008 presidential election. The number of registered voters increased as well, which resulted in a lower percentage of turnout.
On election day, 6,637 people turned out to vote, a drop of 502 from the 7,139 who voted in 2008. But this year 8,797 voted early, an increase of 609 voters over the 8,188 in 2008. The absentee vote accounted for another 2,155 ballots in this election, that’s a decrease from the 2,206 in 2008.
“For a presidential election it’s about right, but definitely a lot higher than any primary or special election or even our local elections; the in-between elections are usually less than that,” Merlino said, referring to the mid-term elections.
The clerk’s office reported the final results to the secretary of state’s office about 10:50 p.m. Tuesday, she said. The last precincts to come in were from Smoky Valley and Round Mountain.
Merlino said she suggested splitting up buildings and grounds workers so the county clerk’s office could pack things up faster after the close of the polls at 7 p.m.
Merlino indicated county clerk’s office workers and election staff have gotten thick skinned about dealing with complaints from some people on election day.
“We have the same thing in presidential elections all the time, people who just get ferocious, mean and nasty. They don’t check on their registration until they turn up to vote. Of course they’re not registered and people who try to submit their absentee vote,” Merlino said.
Some people simply marked a box at some place like the Nevada Division of Motor Vehicles and thought they were registered, she said.
“It’s just a case of more education, just because you marked a box it doesn’t mean you registered,” Merlino said.
The county clerk outlined how someone may revert to inactive status on their voter registration. If a voter misses two general elections, they’re sent a notification card. If after that the clerk’s office gets two pieces of mail returned undeliverable, like sample ballots or a jury summons, the clerk’s office sends a forwarding card. If that card isn’t returned, they are deleted from the active rolls.
Nye County had 107 snowbirds register to vote in this election, Merlino said, they had to fill out a special form they are domiciled in Nevada, like a Nevada driver’s license or bank account, Merlino said.
People who showed up and said they were registered to vote but weren’t listed on the rolls could cast a provisional ballot, which is only for the presidential races, Merlino said. Of the eight people who made that claim Merlino said she rejected every one who didn’t turn out to be registered.