The coronavirus continues to expands its hold on everyday life in America and not even Nevada’s primary elections are able to escape the overrearching impact.
On Tuesday, March 24, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske made the announcement that voters in the Silver State will not be heading out to the polls for the 2020 primary election. Instead, all voters in Nevada will be casting their ballots by mail.
“Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, in partnership with Nevada’s 17 county election officials, announces today plans to conduct an all-mail election for the June 9, 2020 primary election,” a news release issued on March 24 detailed.
The release immediately went on to assure registered voters that they are not required to do anything in order to participate as the absentee ballots will be automatically sent out.
“All active registered voters in Nevada will be mailed an absentee ballot for the primary election. No action or steps, such as submitting an absentee ballot request application, will be required by individual voters in order to receive a ballot in the mail,” the news release explained. “Voters will be able to mark their ballot at home and then return it by mail using a postage-prepaid envelope or by dropping it off in person at a designated county location.”
Cegavske herself stated that after discussion with other election officials around the state, it was determined that though the primary election is still more than two months off, taking steps now to initiate a change to absentee voting would be the most prudent course of action. This is meant to protect not just for the health and safety of voters but for the health and safety of poll workers as well, thousands of which were set to begin training next week and a majority of whom are members of groups that are considered to be a high-risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
“Because of the many uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the immediate need to begin preparations for the 2020 primary election, it became necessary for me to take action regarding how the election will be conducted. Based on extensive conversations with Nevada’s 17 county election officials, we have jointly determined that the best option for the primary election is to conduct an all-mail election,” Cegavske said.
The news release went on to state that maintaining the integrity of Nevada’s elections is paramount and even though the majority of voters will be casting a mail ballot for the June 9 primary election, security, fairness and accuracy will still be primary focuses throughout the process.
Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley stated, “The priority of the secretary of state’s elections division is to ensure every eligible Nevadan has the opportunity to safely vote in the primary election and that the integrity of the election is maintained. We are working with our 17 county election officials to implement the changes necessary to successfully administer this election.”
Anyone who is not currently registered to vote who wishes to participate in the 2020 primary election is urged to complete their voter’s registration now. However, to accommodate same-day voter registration and to assist anyone who has issues with their mail-in ballot, there will be at least one in-person polling location available in each county on primary election day, June 9.
“These polling locations will be set up to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers alike,” the secretary of state’s office reported. “Because in-person voting opportunities will be extremely limited for the primary election, Nevadans are encouraged to register to vote now and not rely on the same-day registration process. Voters are also encouraged to confirm that their voter registration information is up-to-date, including mailing address and political party affiliation. Visit www.RegisterToVoteNV.gov to register to vote online or make updates to your existing voter record.”
Once the absentee ballots are received by voters, there are a few crucial things to keep in mind.
First and foremost, all absentee ballots submitted by mail must be postmarked by June 9 and be received by election officials no later than seven days following the election in order to be counted. Nevadans can also drop their absentee ballots off in person at one of the limited polling locations by the close of polls on June 9.
In addition, voters must ensure that they have signed their absentee ballot. “If a voter fails to sign the ballot return envelope or the voter’s signature does not match the one on file with the county election official, the voter will be contacted, and the voter will have up to the seventh day after the election to make the necessary correction,” voters were informed.
As a final note, the release also laid out the fact that Nevadans will not know the results of their primary elections for days afterward.
“It is important to understand that these statutory deadlines will result in updating vote totals and election results for up to seven days after the election. Close races may remain undecided until all ballots are counted. All counties must certify the election results no later than 10 days after the election,” the release stated.
For more information on the 2020 primary election visit www.nvsos.gov
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org