By Mark Waite
Four more days remain to register to vote online. So far election officials in Nye County and the state of Nevada report a good response to the voter registration initiative.
Since the program began statewide in 2010, the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office reports 37,267 people have registered online through last Thursday. During the first seven days of a television and radio campaign, from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23, new voter registrations statewide averaged 550 per day, twice the number of new registrations during the first 16 days of September.
The Secretary of State reported as of last Thursday, there were 366 online voter registrations in Nye County, which has only had the program available since July.
Nye County Clerk Sam Merlino said when online voter registration began it was a pilot program in only a couple of counties, smaller counties didn’t get online until this year.
The Secretary of State reported 31,000 of those online voter registrations were in Clark County, which began offering online voter registration Aug. 31, 2010, two years before it was available in all 17 Nevada counties.
Merlino said there were only a couple of people registering to vote each day when the program began in Nye County.
But by last week, she said there have been about 50 online voter registrations per day, although perhaps 20 of them may be people canceling their registration after moving to places like Clark County.
The weekend of Sept. 22-23, Merlino said the Nye County clerk’s office received 79 online voter registrations. Last Tuesday there were 49, another 38 registered online on Thursday and 43 on Friday.
This past weekend another 77 county residents registered to vote using the Internet, she said.
Merlino said the only problem with online voter registration is there’s no way to reject an application when it’s submitted. She said snowbirds, who aren’t permanent residents, can only fill out a non-fixed resident absentee ballot to vote for president; 60 have applied this year. Persons who wish to vote in Nevada must show proof they consider Nevada their state of residency, she said, like a Nevada driver’s license.
“We had a lot of them register but the Secretary of State doesn’t know 1970 N. Leslie St. is a mailing house,” Merlino said.
The county clerk’s office has to notify those ineligible residents their voting application can’t be accepted, unless they show proper identification, Merlino said, or the clerk’s office will cancel their registration.
“We literally have to go through every voter who is inputted, verify it online,” she said.
A breakout wasn’t available on how many online registrations were Democrats or Republicans in Nye County. The Secretary of State’s office reported since the program began statewide in 2010 there were 13,618 voters registering online as Democrats and 10,670 as Republicans.
“My office is making it easier than ever for eligible voters in Nevada to register to vote before Oct. 6,” Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller said in a prepared statement. “Online voter registration is convenient, easy and secure.”
The Nevada Secretary of State’s office is also collaborating with businesses and libraries to provide access to online voter registration to residents who may not have easy access to a computer or the Internet. The Secretary of State’s office created a business tool at <a href=nvsos.gov/electioncenter/electioninformation.
Television and stage performer Holly Madison donated air time for a 30 second video with the Secretary of State to provide information about online voter registration. Gov. Brian Sandoval partnered up in a video encouraging the military in Nevada to register to vote.
To register, residents need to be at least 18 years old by election day and have a valid Nevada driver’s license or DMV-issued identification card. The application process pulls the signature on file with the DMV and applies it to the voter’s registration record.
Online voter registration ends at 11:59 p.m. Saturday but people may register in person until Oct. 16 at the county clerk’s office.
The system has also created some confusion with voters in remote Currant, in northeastern Nye County, who receive their mail in White Pine County, she said.