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Early voting numbers increased from 2012

<p>Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - People soliciting signatures on petition drives sit under tents in the parking lot at the Ian Deutch Government Center in Pahrump during early voting. Electioneering is permitted within 100 feet of a polling place. Nye County commissioners had scheduled an item at last Tuesday’s meeting to discuss rules for campaign signs on county property but removed the item from their agenda.</p>

Mark Waite / Pahrump Valley Times - People soliciting signatures on petition drives sit under tents in the parking lot at the Ian Deutch Government Center in Pahrump during early voting. Electioneering is permitted within 100 feet of a polling place. Nye County commissioners had scheduled an item at last Tuesday’s meeting to discuss rules for campaign signs on county property but removed the item from their agenda.

Over 10 percent of the registered voters have already voted early for the Tuesday primary election, according to statistics from the Nye County clerk’s office.

Early voting totals for this primary are already ahead of the total early vote for the 2012 primary, a presidential election year, but still a ways behind early vote totals in the comparable 2010 primary, the last time countywide officials were up for election.

Early voting ends today for the Tuesday primary election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. Pahrump voters will cast ballots at J.G. Johnson Elementary School and the Bob Ruud Community Center.

Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino reported as of the end of the day Wednesday 2,825 people voted early, both at the Ian Deutch Government Center in Pahrump and the county courthouse in Tonopah with two days left to go, that’s 10.7 percent of the 26,424 registered voters in the county.

By comparison, a total of only 2,521 voted early for the 2012 primary, 10.7 percent of the registered voters, while slightly more, 2,978, chose to vote on election day.

Republicans turned out in greater numbers for the 2010 primary, according to statistics on file at the county clerk’s office, with 1,470 Republicans voting early that year, 13.8 percent of the registered Republicans and 1,735 voting on election day, 16.3 percent. That compares to 764 Democrats who voted early, only 10 percent of the registered Democrats, and 844 on election day, 11 percent of their registered total.

In the comparable 2010 primary, with no presidential election but countywide officials on the ballot, 3,378 people showed up to vote early, 13.7 percent of the registered voters, 5,032 waited until election day, another 20.4 percent. Again almost twice as many Republicans went to the polls that year, 1,852 Republicans voted early and 2,752 cast ballots on election day. Among Democrats, 1,104 voted early and 1,521 on election day.

In 2010, there was a hotly-contested district attorney’s race, while this year, the sheriff’s race is the most competitive, with 10 candidates seeking to replace Tony DeMeo. Republicans in District 4 and District 5 can vote on competitive races in the primary.

The busiest day for early voting this year was the first day of early voting May 24, with 420 voters, according to the clerk’s office. When early voting resumed two days later after the Memorial Day weekend there were 403 voters making the trip to the voting machines. The daily numbers varied between 300 and 400 the next three days, dropping to a low turnout of 175 voters on May 31. For June 2 the clerk’s office had 262 early voters, there were 247 on June 3 and 263 on June 4.

This year, Round Mountain and Beatty voters will cast their ballots by absentee, due to a shortage of election workers.