Three elections in the new year. Prepared staff? Check. Trained poll workers? Check. New equipment? Check. Plenty of important dates and deadlines? Check.
While Carson City residents were preparing for the holidays, Carson City Clerk-Recorder Scott Hoen and staff were preparing for a marathon election cycle in 2024. Before the start of December, the Appeal visited the elections room inside the Carson City Courthouse and talked with Hoen and Chief Deputy Clerk Miguel Camacho.
Coming up: the presidential preference primary Feb. 6, with early voting Jan. 27 to Feb. 2; the primary election June 11, with early voting May 25 to June 7; and the general election Nov. 5, with early voting Oct. 19 to Nov. 1.
Hoen and staff are confident voting in the capital city — in a swing state — is safe and secure.
“Absolutely,” Hoen said. “Carson City has run a really tight ship and a really good ship for as long as I’ve been here, since ’16.”
Hoen emphasized his first year in office as the clerk “has just confirmed all of that.”
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenges. During the COVID-19 pandemic, state law was changed through Assembly Bill 321 to make mail ballots a required option for all elections. Pre-pandemic, Carson City staff was sending out a couple thousand absentee ballots. Post-pandemic, the office must be prepared for all active registered voters to cast ballots by mail.
“The way Nevada has their elections set up, it’s almost like two full-scale elections,” said Camacho. “We’re prepared for 40,000 voters to come into the polling location because they all can do that, and we’re also prepared for 40,000 mail ballots to come in, and getting the new machine is going to help with that.”
This year, the office spent more than $200,000 to prepare for the 2024 election cycle, the majority of that on a new high-speed ballot scanner and tabulator. The new ES&S DS950 is being used to replace the office’s ES&S DS450, though the latter will still serve as a backup.
There’s also a new camera system in the election room.
“During voting, during our working hours, these cameras will be activated, and these panel TVs right there will be in the hallway, so election observers can sit in the hallway and observe what’s going on,” said Hoen.
Camacho said with the rise of mail ballots, more people have become interested in election observation. However, using the hallway in front of the election room for physical observation has created security problems. He explained there’s not enough space and blocking the doorway can create a fire hazard as well as put people too close to active ballots being sorted.
“We figure doing this gives them more room outside to watch,” Camacho said. “We’re trying to give everyone as much access as possible, but also we’re trying to maintain the integrity of the election.”
For the presidential primary preference, active voters will start seeing sample ballots and mail ballots by mid-January. Early voting starts Jan. 27. Hoen wanted to clear up confusion surrounding the presidential primary, which is run by election officials.
“In the June primary and November general, there are two weeks of early voting. This one, the presidential preference primary, there is only one week of early voting,” he said. “For our voting population, this is a closed-primary state. It is still today. That means R’s vote for Republicans, D’s vote for Democrats. Nonpartisans, they’re not going to get a ballot.”
Hoen said if people want to change their party affiliation before the presidential preference primary, they should sooner than later.
“Go check your voter registration status to make sure that you’re an R or D if that is what you really want to vote as,” he said.
The presidential preference primary is a different contest than the Feb. 8 presidential caucus organized by the Nevada Republican Party. The Feb. 6 primary will be nonbinding for Republicans, though Democrats will rely on the primary result.
According to the Nevada Republican Party’s website, the local caucus will be held 5 p.m. at Casino Fandango and the Carson City Plaza Hotel & Events Center. It will be “the only place where presidential candidates can earn delegates to the Republican National Convention” and will include former President Trump as a candidate, according to the site.
“Candidates that chose to appear on the state-run primary ballot did so knowing that decision meant they could not earn delegates by appearing on the caucus ballots,” says the site.
For information, visit https://nevadagop.org/2024-presidential-caucus.
Hoen and Camacho said anyone with concerns or questions about the Feb. 6 election can visit their office in the courthouse, 885 E. Musser St., suite 1025.
“If you have concerns or comments like right now, by all means bring them to us, and we’ll try to get you the most accurate information we have, and we’ll try to help you out as best as possible,” said Camacho.
Carson City election information can be found at https://www.carson.org/government/departments-a-f/clerk-recorder/elections-department.
Nevada Presidential Preference Primary
• Election Day: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.
• Regular last day of voter registration by person (Carson City Clerk-Recorder’s Office) or mail: Jan. 9
• Deadline to update existing voter registration: Jan. 10 to 23 at https://registertovote.nv.gov/.
• Same-day registration is allowed in-person at polling location with a valid Nevada driver’s license or ID card. Complete rules: https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/elections/election-information/same-day-registration.
• Early voting at the Carson City Community Center: Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. Saturday early voting will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Weekday early voting will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Mail ballots: Ballots must be postmarked on or before Feb. 6 and received at the Carson City Elections Office no later than four days after election day, which is Feb. 10. Deadline for ballot curing (voters with signature issues will be contacted) is 5 p.m. Feb. 12. Ballots can be dropped off at the Clerk-Recorder’s Office (885 E. Musser St., suite 1025) during polling hours. The Carson City Senior Center (911 Beverly Drive) will have a ballot drop box on Saturday early voting as well as on election day during polling hours. The Clerk-Recorder will post voter turnout daily, and individual ballot tracking can be set up at https://nevada.ballottrax.net/voter/.
(Note: If a voter receives a ballot that is not theirs, the Clerk-Recorder’s Office is asking them to put a line through addressed ballot and mark return to sender or return the ballot in-person to 885 E. Musser Street, suite 1025. Ballots should not be shredded or thrown away).
Democrat candidates appearing on Feb. 6 ballot (some candidates may have dropped out since filing):
• Biden, Jr., Joseph R.
• Cornejo, Gabriel
• Crystalroc, Superpayaseria
• Foutz, Brent
• Haywood, John
• Leon, Stephen Alan
• Lozada, Frank “Frankie”
• Lyons, Stephen
• Palmer, Jason Michael
• Perez-Serrato, Armando “Mando”
• Picard, Donald
• Prascak, Mark
• Williamson, Marianne
• None of these candidates
Republican candidates to appear on Feb. 6 ballot (some candidates may have dropped out since filing):
• Castro, John
• Fulkerson, Heath
• Haley, Nikki R.
• Kjornes, Donald
• Pence, Mike
• Scott, Tim
• Singh, Hirsh V.
• None of these candidates
Republican Party Presidential Caucus
provided by the Carson City Republican Party Central Committee
The Republican Party of Nevada will hold its Presidential Caucus and annual precinct meeting on Feb. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. People must be registered as Republicans 30 days prior to the caucus to be qualified to participate; there are no exceptions and no same-day registration.
The Nevada GOP has recently created a process for people with disabilities to obtain an absentee ballot which includes filling out an affidavit with a Photo ID. Please contact the local Republicans Party for information at 775-841-1800. The people of Carson City have two locations for caucusing: the Casino Fandango Ballroom, 3800 S. Carson St., and the Carson City Plaza Hotel & Events Center, 801 S. Carson St. You may participate in the Presidential Preference Primary conducted Feb. 6 and the Republican Caucus Feb. 8. You must have a valid Nevada state form of ID to participate in the caucus. You may not use a driver Privilege ID to vote in the caucus.
Only candidates in the Nevada Caucus will receive delegates for the Republican National Convention. The candidates for the Nevada Caucus are Ryan Binkley, Chris Christy, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and Donald Trump. They will not be listed on the (Presidential Preference Primary) sample ballot you receive from Carson City. The Republican Party of Carson City will call the registered voters to inform them of their precinct number and where to report to the caucus, vote and participate in their precinct meeting. If you do not have time to attend the meeting, you may check in, go to your precinct table, vote and leave. If you have any questions, call or stop at the Carson City Republican Headquarters, 1971 California St., 775-841-1800.