5:30 a.m. UPDATE:
President Joe Biden cruised to an easy victory on the Democratic side of Tuesday's Presidential Primary in the Silver State. Results show Biden with nearly 90 percent of the vote.
On the Republican side, "None of the Above" defeated Nikki Haley by a 2-to-1 margin. None received 42,534 votes to Haley's 20,799. Results are unofficial.
In Carson City, 1,333 Republicans picked "None" while 815 voters chose Haley. Carson voters picked Biden overwhelming with 2,380 votes cast for the President (88%). "None" was the second highest total with just 194 votes.
Only 16% of active Carson City Republican voters turned out. While 28% of Carson City Democratic voters turned out,
Statewide, only 15% of active voters cast a vote in the primary.
Haley was the only active major candidate on the Republican ballot. Donald Trump decided to not participate in the primary, he will participate in the Thursday’s Republican caucus. The primary doesn’t count for GOP nomination. Trump, meanwhile, is expected to pick up all 26 Republican delegates in Thursday’s caucus.
Haley became the first presidential candidate from either party to lose a race to “none of these candidates” since that option was introduced in Nevada in 1975.
Haley had said beforehand she was going to “focus on the states that are fair” and did not campaign in the western state in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, spending time instead in her home state, South Carolina, before its Feb. 24 primary. Her campaign wrote off the results with a reference to Nevada’s famous casino industry.
“Even Donald Trump knows that when you play penny slots the house wins,” spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said. “We didn’t bother to play a game rigged for Trump. We’re full steam ahead in South Carolina and beyond.”
Trump joked on his social media network, “Watch, she’ll soon claim Victory!”
Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, a Republican, had announced beforehand that he would vote for “none of these candidates” on Tuesday.
Nevada’s 36 pledged Democratic delegates are allocated according to the national party’s standard rules. Eight at-large delegates are allocated in proportion to the statewide primary vote, as are five PLEO delegates, or “party leaders and elected officials,” according to The Associated Press. The state’s four congressional districts have a combined 23 delegates at stake, which are allocated in proportion to the vote results in each district. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegates and 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegates in that district.
Earlier Tuesday, turnout for the primary at the Carson City Community Center was enough to keep poll workers and election officials busy but not enough to cause lines or long wait times.
“I would say wait time is minimal, if not zero,” said Carson City Clerk-Recorder Scott Hoen mid-day. “It’s been steady today, and it’s been a pleasant experience for those people that have come.”
By 2 p.m., he said, 308 had voted in person – 169 Republicans and 139 Democrats.
In comparison, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office that updated numbers Monday, the in-person turnout in Carson City during the previous week of early voting was 763 – 442 Republicans and 321 Democrats.
Restricted to voters registered Democrat or Republican, the state-run primary is a different contest than the Nevada Republican Presidential Caucus slated for Thursday.
Pointing to confusion about the two contests, Hoen described an incident from early voting Feb. 2.
“We actually had one person come in, check in, get a ballot card, go to the machine and didn’t see Trump on it and said, ‘Well, I thought this was the caucus. I’m not going to vote.’ And left,” Hoen recalled. “That goes to show you: there is still some confusion out there.”
Hoen also said around 15 nonpartisans participated in same-day registration on Tuesday to vote in the primary. State law allows same-day registration under certain guidelines.
“They actually can do same-day registration if they have the proper ID, and they can change their party,” Hoen said.
Many people chose to use mail-in ballots for the primary instead of in-person voting. From a change in state law in 2021, mail ballots are now a required option for all elections in Nevada. According to the SOS, 24,185 mail ballots were sent to active voters for the primary in Carson City. As of Monday, 4,749 of those had been voted on and returned – 2,637 Democrat and 2,112 Republican.
Hoen said mail ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and received by election officials no more than four days after the election, which is Feb. 10. Additionally, any ballots with signature issues must be cured by 5 p.m. Feb. 12.
“Email, phone call, letter – we do everything we can,” Hoen said of notifications for curing. “If they have concerns or can’t find it on the website, they can always call us.”
The Carson City election department’s number is 775-887-2087. Signature curing can be accessed online at https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/elections/voters/cure.
As of Monday, only 17 mail ballots in Carson City needed signature cures, according to the SOS.
On Tuesday, resident Gail Kane dropped off her mail ballot at the community center during her lunch break.
“Just because it’s important to vote,” she told the Appeal.
Sandy Hawkins, a retired resident, got a ride to the polls from her grandson. She said she’s worried about democracy.
“Because we got a democracy, we got to get more people to vote,” she said. “It’s time to know what the majority of people want.”
Hawkins added, “Not just the hot-button issues – we need to vote every time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.