Conflicting deadlines cause late sample ballots in rurals

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Voters in several rural Nevada counties have complained to local election officials over the last two weeks that they hadn't received their sample ballots.

But county officials say the problem isn't the result of some conspiracy but a foul up caused by changes in primary, early voting and other deadlines set during the last Legislature.

"The big confusion was that early voting started before the deadline to mail the sample ballots," said Eureka County Deputy Clerk Treasurer Jackie Berg.

She said that when the primary moved from September to August, early voting was moved up to July 29. But the ballots weren't required to be mailed until Aug. 5. As a result, she said, many people hadn't received the sample ballots when the polls opened.

"A lot of people felt they were late but Sequoia met the deadline," Berg said.

She said most of the complaints went away this week as those ballots arrived in the mail.

A spokesman in Humboldt County said they, too, had some complaints as early voting began.

"They were a lot later than last year because they were mailed form Sequoia but, yes, as of today, they've got them," she said.

The problem also surfaced in Churchill County where Deputy Clerk Treasurer Kelly Henton said more than 1,000 voters hadn't received their ballots as of Monday - halfway through the early voting period.

But she said Churchill officials knew there was going to be a problem because they didn't send their list to Sequoia until three days before early voting started.

"We knew they were going to arrive after early voting began," she said.

She said, to her knowledge, most of those 1,080 people who hadn't received ballots as of Monday have since gotten them in the mail.

But Storey County Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Sarah Jensen said they sent the list to Sequoia on July 21 and still received numerous complaints the first week of early voting from people who hadn't received a ballot.

"Most of them are there now," she said. "The first ones started arriving on Saturday, Aug. 5. Normally sample ballots would be received before early voting started."

Early voting ends today, but Jensen said a similar problem could occur again before the Nov. 7 general election. She said Storey and other county officials will have to work with Sequoia to try make sure the sample ballots arrive at voters' homes before early voting for the general election starts Oct. 21.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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