Many Nevadans, Californians vote by mail in primary
June 9, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – With candidates for governor and U.S. Senate races in the balance, South Shore voters on both sides of the state line showed up to vote in Tuesday’s primary.
“We need a change in government,” said South Lake Tahoe resident Jan McCarthy before she went to cast her ballot at the Lake Tahoe Christian Fellowship. “We need fresh-thinking leaders.”
South Lake Tahoe residents Ed and Elfriede Smith said there weren’t any issues in Tuesday’s election that they were particularly passionate about, but said they vote in every election as part of their civic duty.
“There wasn’t too many there that were hot-button issues,” Ed Smith said about the items on Tuesdays’ ballot, while leaving the Tahoe Verde Estates polling place.
South Shore pharmacist Barry Keil said he was particularly interested in the El Dorado County Sheriff’s race.
Keil said he voted for Ernie Hillman, one of six candidates in the race, because he liked Hillman’s stance on citizen’s rights to bear arms. Keil also said he liked the amount of support Hillman had attracted from within the sheriff’s office, saying it’s important for members of the office to respect their top supervisor.
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The El Dorado County Elections Department expected a 30 to 45 percent turnout at polls, said Bill Schultz, El Dorado County registrar of voters.
However, more than half of the voters in El Dorado County chose to vote by mail, Schultz said.
There are 105,163 registered voters in the county, of which 56,259 chose to vote by mail. Another 7,915 voters live in precincts where they must vote by mail.
As of Monday night 23,401 vote-by-mail ballots were returned, about a 35 percent return.
“That’s a really good turnout,” Schultz said. “We don’t normally expect that big a turnout at the polling races.”
Turnout for early and absentee voting in Douglas County for Tuesday’s primary led the statewide average by nearly 4 percent, according to the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office on Sunday.
Clerk-Treasurer Ted Thran said moving the primary to June appears to be increasing turnout.
For South Lake Tahoe resident Greg Hunt, voting in the primary was about supporting democracy.
“I always like to vote,” Hunt said. “Everyone should vote.”
– Tribune News Service reporter Kurt Hildebrand contributed to this story.