Nevada nears 1 million voters | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada nears 1 million voters

Nevada has nearly 1 million registered voters, but only a tiny percentage of them have turned out in early voting in the primary election so far.

The total number of voters registered for the Aug. 15 primary is 957,406 according to the Secretary of State’s office. That is a gain of only 11,425 from the primary registration two years ago – pretty much flat despite an 8.6 percent growth in total state population over the past two years.

However, that was a presidential election year, which always draws more public interest than the off-year elections.

The total, however, is more than 113,000 lower than the 1,071,101 registered for the 2004 general election.

The number registered actually went down in eight of Nevada’s 17 counties – most dramatically in Washoe where the total on the voter rolls fell nearly 23,000 to 188,273.

That was more than offset by a growth of 27,309 in Clark.

Carson City’s total registration increased 1,054 and Douglas’ total by 3,723 to 26,635.

In addition to Washoe County, registration fell in Churchill, Elko, Esmeralda, Lander, Lincoln, Pershing and White Pine counties.

Elections officials say the reason for most of that drop is audits which move voters who haven’t gone to the polls in the past couple of cycles to the inactive category.

Statewide, there has been a swing toward the GOP in total registration. Where Democrats held a 1,021 lead two years ago, the Republican Party was up by 8,460 in this year’s primary count. Some of that gain may have come from nonpartisan voters whose ranks fell by about 4,000 to just over 139,000 as of the close of this year’s primary registration.

But as of Thursday, about halfway through the early voting period, just 41,229 Nevadans had cast ballots in the primary. That works out to just 4.3 percent of the total registered.

When that total is added to the number of people returning early ballots, the total turnout so far is less than 6 percent.

If that trend continues, total turnout for early voting and mail in ballots will be about 12 percent and that puts the state on track for a total primary turnout of just under 30 percent, since more than half of voters still wait until election day. That is in the range of the past four election cycles which were all below 30 percent turnout.

The lowest since 1982 was the primary turnout in 2000 – just 23.3 percent. The best was in 1982 when 61 percent of Nevada’s 309,061 voters cast ballots in the primary.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

County Registration Vote as of 8/3 Percent

Carson City 24,860 1,567 6.3%

Churchill 11,967 333 2.8%

Clark 621,221 27,505 4.4%

Douglas 26,635 3,392 12.7%

Lyon 22,618 524 2.3%

Storey 2,392 23 1%

Washoe 188,273 4,824 2.5%

Statewide 957,406 41,229 4.3%