$4.5 million in federal funding will help pay for Nevada primary

close up of political voting pins for 2020 election on white

close up of political voting pins for 2020 election on white

The Legislative Interim Finance Committee on Thursday approved receipt of nearly $4.5 million in funding through the CARES Act to help cover the cost of moving Nevada’s June primary election to a mail in vote.

Wayne Thorley, elections deputy for the Secretary of State’s office, said that, historically, 90 percent of Nevadans vote in-person, not by mail.

“So a mail-in election is expensive,” he said.

The decision was made because of the health and safety concerns over the pandemic.

He said the money will pay for $565,000 worth of equipment including ballot scanners and adjudication equipment, computers and other materials to help count the incoming ballots. Another $500,000 will buy other non-ballot equipment.

The largest single cost, Thorley said, is $2.4 million to print ballots at a cost of $1.10 apiece along with postage to mail them.

He said the prepaid envelopes to send in those ballots will cost another $235,000.

There is also a $753,000 for a voter education campaign including media and social media buys to get the word out.

He said the key is that Nevada voters must be told exactly how this new system will work, including how to ensure they are among the active voters. He said a lot of voters move from one place to another and don’t think to update their voter registration, rendering them inactive. He said while they can still go to a polling place on election day but that it makes much better sense to update their registration online or on paper by mail. People can update on line at www.registertovote.gov.

He said the state, under current law, could be hit with a 20 percent match of about $900,000 but he said the states have asked Congress to eliminate that.


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