Voters turn out early to pick candidates

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Sue Merriwether, chief deputy clerk, and Bob Sanders carry a voting machine with a broken screen, from the voting area at the Clerk-Treasurer's office on Saturday morning during early voting in Carson City.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Sue Merriwether, chief deputy clerk, and Bob Sanders carry a voting machine with a broken screen, from the voting area at the Clerk-Treasurer's office on Saturday morning during early voting in Carson City.

Many who voted early on Saturday did so "to get it over with," but that doesn't mean they don't care about the election.

They have just already decided for whom they wanted to vote.

Debbie Coleman said she and her husband, Tracy, discuss who to support, but don't always come to the same conclusion.

They were at the Carson City Clerk's office on Saturday morning to cast their ballots.

"We sit down together and discuss what we want to do, but we vote individually," Debbie Coleman said. "It's not like we vote as a team."

She prefers voting early because it's more convenient.

"I really like it because on the Election Day, you have to go down and stand in a line," she said. "It's irritating."

Debbie Romesburg also voted early on Saturday.

"I like to get it over and done with," she said, adding that she was sure early who she wanted to support, though she asked for help on that one from her father.

"I wasn't sure about a few of them (candidates) but then I called my dad and we went over it," she said.

Election worker Beth Phelps said about 190 people had voted by noon.

"The first two hours were really busy," she said. "Not only with voters, but we were busy with marriages, too."

Phelps said early voting is popular with residents and they are generally happier than those who wait until election day.

"It's a lot different than at the polling places," she said. "People come in on the day they choose and relax."

Kay Bunch, a retired worker from the Clerk-Recorder's office said she was only back to help with early voting, and added there are lines sometimes there too.

"The first day of early voting in the general the line goes out the door," she said.

Chief Deputy Clerk Sue Merriwether said so many people are voting early it could impact election results.

"I don't know if candidates realize how important early voting is," she said. "Lots of people vote before Election Day. You can get a whole different result than you think."

The hallway leading to the Clerk-Recorder's office was lined with Sequoia electronic voting units, the third election they have been used, and poll worker Cookie Callahan said people are getting used to them.

"We're finally getting people educated on the paper ballots," she said. "They think it should come back to them, but it stays in the machine."

The city has several units that have an audio attachment with headphones to aid visually-impaired voters, and one is lower to the floor with a chair for those who have difficulty standing for the time it takes to vote.

Callahan said the only occasional problem has been people who absent-mindedly walk off with the cards needed to activate the units, which work similar to an ATM.

She said the cards can't be used again until they are activated, so there's no worry of someone voting more than once.

She has seen her share of voting methods, having worked the polls in Carson City for 20 years, first in the National Guard building, then the old Courthouse, the Carson Mall and now at the Clerk's office.

"I work once every two years," she said. "This is where I get to meet and greet the people. That's why I do it."

Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

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