City preparing for 'electronic election'

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Wednesday was not an easy day at the Carson City's Elections Office.

While computer technicians worked through minor glitches as they tested a new electronic voting machine in the lobby, workers were buzzing around getting ready for the city's first "electronic election."

"We're out of time and there's just a ton of things that need to be done," said Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover.

There were letters to send, labels to print and a stream of new voters to register. Meanwhile, the office is trying to rewrite training manuals on how to use the new vote-by-touch computer booths.

"We've been practicing," Glover said. "The biggest challenge is just learning how the machines work."

Tabitha Maher was one of many Carson City residents who stopped by the Elections Office Wednesday to register for the primary elections. At 21, it will be her first election. She didn't select a party and believes party affiliation is not relevant to how she selects her votes.

"I just think it's good to get involved," Maher said. "They say every vote counts. I think it's important to get your vote in."

Walk-in voter registration will close at 9 p.m. Aug. 17 for the Sept. 7 primary election.

Carson City Courthouse will have 15 new electronic machines equipped with special printers. Once registered, voters will be handed a plastic voting card, looking similar to a hotel card key, and told to go to any booth available.

After a few minutes of selecting candidates, voters will have chances to change their minds. Even after the ticket is printed, confirming the selections, voters can go back and make changes. The printers will produce a copy of the vote to be left behind at the booth and won't be seen by the next voter. Helpers will be on hand to walk voters through the new process.

"It's just totally different than any election we've ever done," Glover said. "We'll have a lot of people on hand."

This year, the office has seen an increase in the number of walk-in registrations, probably due to the excitement of the National Democratic Convention, Glover said. Carson City registers about 25,000 for a general election. By Wednesday, about 23,000 were registered.

The new machines will delay early returns, because elections officials will need to stay at the polling places until they close this year. When they return to the office with the computer disks, final returns should be available quickly after 9 p.m., Glover said.

Nevada purchased 1,935 electronic machines for $9.27 million this year. Carson received 130 machines, Douglas County has 160 and Lyon will have 115. Secretary of State Dean Heller ordered all Nevada counties to use the new machines and all but Clark County to equip the machines with printers.

Voting calendar

• Aug. 17: Last day to register for primary elections. Carson City Elections office to stay open until 9 p.m. Aug. 16 and Aug. 17.

• Aug. 21 - Sept. 3: Early voting by personal appearance.

• Sept. 7: Primary elections. Booths open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

• Oct. 3-Oct. 12: Register to vote for general election by personal appearance. Registration closes at 9 p.m. Oct. 12.

• Oct. 16-Oct. 29: Early voting by personal appearance.

• Nov. 2: Election Day. Booths open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Contact Jill Lufrano at or 881-1217.


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