Officials work to avoid late ballots for general election

Conflicting deadlines that resulted in many rural Nevada voters not getting their primary election sample ballots until early voting was nearly finished could happen again in the general election.

That happened to several thousand voters in Churchill, Humboldt, Storey and Eureka counties.

The Nevada Secretary of State's office will work with Sequoia Voting Systems and county clerks to try to make sure that doesn't happen. Elections Deputy Ellick Hsu said, however, it could be a challenge because of the deadlines put into law by the 2005 Legislature.

He said the conflict was created when lawmakers decided to allow new voters to register closer to election day. According to the calendar of election deadlines issued by the elections division, voter registration for the general election ends Oct. 17. Sequoia, which is printing ballots for most rural Nevada counties, has until Oct. 20 to mail the ballots to voters.

But early voting for the general begins the next day - Oct. 21.

"It's just one of those unfortunate consequences of moving the deadlines in the last Legislature," Hsu said.

Hsu said he will be working with Sequoia and the rural clerks to find ways around the problem. One possibility, he said, is to get general election ballots printed early since clerks will know who is up in each race the day after the primary election next Tuesday.

He said they could be mailed to the clerks so voters registering at the last minute could be handed a sample ballot.

"We want to make sure voters get their sample ballots in time for early voting," he said.

The solution, however, will have to wait for the 2007 Legislature when his office will propose legislation to fix the problem permanently.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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