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Nye voter turnout could reach 75 percent

With less than a week to go until the Nov. 8 General Election, Nye County’s top election official is projecting a heavy voter turnout.

Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino said that voter turnout could reach as high as 75 percent.

Thus far, early voting has seen a sizable turnout, as there have been 9,830 voters through Wednesday in the county, which equates to 36 percent of the 27,381 active voters in the county.

“So far everything has gone very smoothly,” Nye County Clerk Sandra “Sam” Merlino said. “We’ve been in early voting and have had a huge turnout.”

Republicans make up for a vast majority of the voters, as the party has seen 5,178 cast votes, while 2,560 Democrats have voted, while 2,092 third party and Independents have voted early.

Early voting continues through the end of the day today.

During Election Day Tuesday, the voting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and those voting then are told to prepare to exercise patience.

“Usually, early voting is bigger than Election Day so I really can’t even predict if the lines will be long on Election Day or not because we’ve had such a good turnout for early voting,” Merlino said. “But just in case, they should expect lines.

“As anywhere else, I think the afternoon is actually the best time to come in to vote in any location, just because everyone wants to get there first and be the first one in line in the morning, and that’s when it’s long.”

The presidential election is one of the points that is thought to be driving the expected high turnout, as well as the U.S. Senate race and the 4th Congressional District race.

“Presidential elections, everybody comes out to participate, which is a great thing,” Merlino said.

County races like Assembly District 36, featuring incumbent James Oscarson taking on political newcomer, brothel owner Dennis Hof, is among the more highly-contested races. Each candidate has taken jabs at each other through various media formats, bringing a lot of attention to the race.

Also, the county commission race between Republican John Koenig and Democrat Harley Kulkin is also on the ballot. Town board elections in Amargosa Valley and Tonopah will also help bring voters to the polls in those communities.

Four state questions also populate the ballot, including polarizing questions to legalize recreational marijuana and expand background checks.

“We expect a good turnout,” Merlino said. “I hope everybody comes out and votes because it’s very important.”

As far as when countywide results can be expected, Merlino hopes all the votes will be tabulated by about 10 p.m. election night.

“We have a lot more helpers to break down our (voting) machines on Election Day so hopefully that will make things go a little bit quicker,” she said.

The breakdown of the Nye County counts 27,381 active voters includes:

■ Democrats, 7,536

■ Republicans, 12,783

■ Nonpartisans, 4,822

■ Libertarians, 235

■ Green, 53

■ Independent American, 1,876

■ Other, 76

A closer look

Important election dates and deadlines for the Nov. 8 General Election:

■ Nov. 4, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., last day of early voting

■ Nov. 8, Election Day, polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

SOURCE: Nye County Clerk’s Office

Contact reporters Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com and David Jacobs at djacobs@tonopahtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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