Early voting draws thousands to polling sites in Nevada | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Early voting draws thousands to polling sites in Nevada

BRENDAN RILEY, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Thousands of Nevadans are taking advantage of early voting options — even if there’s not much on their ballots — to vote in advance of the state’s Sept. 3 primary election.

Susan Bilyeu, elections deputy for Secretary of State Dean Heller, said officials around the state said they were busy over the weekend as early voting started. She added more than 7,200 people cast ballots in the Las Vegas area alone.

Bilyeu also predicted that by the time all votes are counted following the Sept. 3 primary, as many as half of the voters will have cast their ballots early. Until now, the average has been about 40 percent.

But one reason for a higher percentage in early voters is that fewer voters overall may make it to the polls — because there aren’t a lot of exciting primary battles.

In most cases, the likely primary winners are obvious, and the leading major party candidates are looking ahead to showdowns in the November general election. Several candidates in the primary have no opposition at all.

“We’ve had much more exciting primaries in the past, and we will in the future,” Heller says. “This is just one of those election cycles where the general election is going to carry the weight.”

The statewide elective offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, controller and secretary of state, plus two state Supreme Court seats and three congressional slots, are up this year.

In the races for the various statewide and congressional offices, there might have been 20 primary contests if enough candidates had filed. Instead, there are only six — Republican and Democratic primaries for governor; a GOP primary for lieutenant governor; and two GOP primaries and one Democratic primary in the U.S. House contests.

In addition, Nevada voters will fill 42 seats in the state Assembly and 11 of the 21 state Senate seats. With enough major party candidates, there could have been more than 100 legislative primaries. Instead there are fewer than half that number.

Early voting ends Aug. 30. Once the primary election is over, early voting will run from Oct. 19 until Nov. 1 for the 2002 general election. Election Day is Nov. 5.

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