Washoe County officials expect smooth election

RENO - Washoe County Voter Registrar Dan Burk is determined to avoid a repeat of two years ago when the counting of general election returns dragged on for days and left a key U.S. Senate race up in the air.

Burk said he and his staff have done ''everything in our power'' to make sure Tuesday's primary election will be done right the first time.

''All of the hard work the last 670 days will pay off,'' he said.

The last countywide election in November 1998 was a nightmare because of problems with a central count machine and several thousand ballots improperly printed by the county.

Washoe was last in the nation to post official results, nine days after the Nov. 3 election.

Many of the ballots had to be recounted by hand, and the delay kept the country waiting for the outcome of the nail-biter race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat, and GOP Rep. John Ensign, who sought Reid's seat.

In the end, Reid defeated Ensign by only 428 votes.

Burk said only the voting machines that worked at the polling places will be used Tuesday. The central count machine is boxed up and forgotten.

And only ballots printed by Sequoia Pacific, the biggest ballot printer on the West Coast, will be used.

Even the cheap ink pens that took some people forever to fill in the ballot squares have been upgraded to flare-tip pens, so the waiting line for polling booths should move quicker, he said.

Burk added that a new computer software system certified by the Nevada Secretary of State will make tabulating the vote much faster.


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