Election 2020: Ballots in the mail first week of May
Mail-in ballots will soon be arriving at Carson City voters’ homes as well as homes across the state.
Carson City Clerk Recorder Aubrey Rowlatt said sample ballots will go out before the end of April, followed by the actual ballots in the first week of May.
State Elections Deputy Wayne Thorley said all counties will be sending sample ballots but some of them may combine that ballot with the actual ballot.
But since Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has ruled ballots will only be mailed to active voters, county election officials are urging people to either go online at the state website or call their clerk and make sure they are among the active voters.
There are more than 250,000 inactive voters according to the latest registration numbers issued by the Secretary of State. Democrats, who make up almost 100,000 of those inactive voters, have filed suit to, among other things, force clerks to mail ballots to all registered voters but no hearings have been held on that so far.
Rowlatt and Thorley are recommending people unsure if they are active or inactive contact their clerk’s office.
“I encourage all voters to call us or go online,” Rowlatt said. “We’ll be happy to confirm their information to them.”
The Carson City office is 887-2087.
Thorley said anyone who receives a Sample Ballot is an active voter.
The Secretary of State’s voter registration website is http://www.RegisterToVoteNV.gov
Carson, along with Clark, Humboldt, Nye and White Pine counties have all sent inactive voters mailers encouraging them to update their registration information. Elko and Lyon counties are doing so this week.
Rowlatt said voters become inactive because they didn’t respond to an earlier mailer asking them to confirm they are still living at the same address and other registration information.
“They’re still registered voters,” she said. “They just need to contact us. Something in their record needs to be updated.”
Thorley said voters also become active by going through the Automatic Voter Registration system at DMV.
He said people who haven’t registered or who have moved to a different county or district can fix their problem by presenting a valid driver’s license, ID card or Tribal ID. He said if the address on that ID doesn’t match the voter’s registration record, they will need to present proof of residency such as a bank statement or utility bill that has the correct address.
Rowlatt said Carson’s Sample Ballot also includes some information about the whole process to help voters sort out all the changes.
Cegavske has ordered there be a single polling location in each county for those people who want to vote in person. Democrats have also challenged that saying particularly in Clark and Washoe, one location is unconstitutionally inadequate.
The offices are also open for those who want to register same day during early voting or on election day. Rowlatt said same day registrants will be required to complete their registration in person at the polling station.
“Be patient,” she said. “We’re not going to be able to have more than 10 people at the polling location hallway and three of them are my workers.”
In primary elections with more than two candidates, if one receives more than half the total vote, that person is elected without having to go to the general election.
That applies in Carson City’s local elections, which are non-partisan.
In addition, in partisan elections such as legislative races where the only two candidates are in the same party, the race will also be decided in the primary.
Early voting opens May 23 and runs through June 5, the Friday before the June 9 primary. Rowlatt said Carson will be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturdays to receive ballots or for those who want to visit the Carson live polling location at the courthouse.
Voting will be closed Memorial Day.
She and Thorley said absentee ballots will be accepted up to seven days after the primary or general election day as long as they were postmarked by election day.
One issue raised by the order to do mail-in voting is the cost.
“The cost to conduct the primary election by all mail will be significant,” said Thorley.
That’s because counties normally print ballots for about 10 percent of active voters. For the June primary, they have to print enough ballots for 100 percent of active voters. He said printing and mailing costs will come to about $2 million. In addition, those ballots have a prepaid postage envelope to return the ballot. The clerks also need scanning and tabulation equipment to count the votes, protective gear for election workers and other materials that will cost another $2 million plus.
But he said Nevada will get a $4.5 million federal grant through the stimulus legislation to cover those costs.
One important change from recent elections, officials said, is that with paper ballots, it’s going to take a lot longer to count the votes. Thorley said the Secretary of State’s office will begin posting election results election night as usual.
“The important thing to understand, however, is that the election night results will be incomplete,” he said.
In close races, he said the final winner may not be known for days.
That situation is further complicated by the fact that the canvass of the vote that makes the results official is just 10 days after the June 9 primary and clerks must accept and count absentee ballots for seven days after the election.
“We have two days to get a canvass together,” Rowlatt said.