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Smooth primary election day bodes well for general, but low turnout a concern, says SOS

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Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current
June 12, 2024

Nevada’s primary election day was marked by low turnout, excessive heat in the state’s most populous county, and a smooth execution of universal mail-in voting across the state.

“Early voting ran smoothly, and Election Day went well,” said Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar.

County election workers will still accept mail-in ballots until June 15, but unofficial returns put turnout for the primary at about 14% of registered voters as of Tuesday night. That’s lower than previous primary elections, which have ranged from 18% to 30% since 2000, according to States United Action.

“I can’t give you a reason for the low turnout. Obviously, you know, everybody has a lot going on,” said Aguilar during a press conference after polls closed. “I can say the November election is going to be super competitive,and that Nevada is going to have a significant role in the national election.”

The race between Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen and Republican Sam Brown is expected to figure largely in determining which party will control the Senate. Nevada’s U.S. House races are also likely to receive national attention.

Nevada voters showed their preference for mail-in voting, which accounted for nearly 60% of ballots cast by voters as of late Tuesday. Election day voting — which was hampered by a high temperature of 108 degrees in Clark County — accounted for about 20% of total votes. In-person early voting attracted slightly more voters, making up about 21% of ballots cast.

Aguliar attributed the smooth election process to his office’s Voter Registration and Election Management Solution (VREMS) project, which streamlined vote tabulation through a centralized statewide voter registration database and election management system.

While the system has not been implemented statewide yet, Clark County has used the system for the past two elections. The system will go statewide in the general election, said Aguilar.

“We were able to see the poll pads work in Clark County as they should. It was great to talk with poll workers using the poll pads and talk about their experience today versus previous elections when they did not have the system, and seeing where it built in efficiencies that made their job easier,” Aguilar said.

“We’re excited to see that expand statewide,” Agular said. “I’m confident that the rest of the state will really appreciate the system as well.”

Aguilar acknowledged that, as with any election, there will be opportunities to smooth out wrinkles as local election officials provide feedback to state officials. 

“That’s the big question after every election. Stepping back and saying, Where can we improve? How do we build that communication flow so we’re all on the same page consistently?”

Aguilar vowed to work with county clerks to improve the election process and voter turnout ahead of November’s general election. Otherwise, Aguilar said, the primary had a “good flow” overall.

“I hope Nevadans recognize the value of their vote. That is a significant, powerful vote here in Nevada, and we have to have to talk to voters about the power of that vote,” Aguilar said.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.