Thousands cast their ballots on first day of early voting |

Thousands cast their ballots on first day of early voting

Martin Griffith

RENO (AP) – Thousands of Nevadans cast ballots in races for governor, U.S. senator and other offices as the first day of statewide early voting began Saturday.

Nearly 7,100 people had cast votes at polling sites in Clark County as of 3 p.m. Saturday, said county spokesman Dan Kulin.

By comparison, the first day of early voting in the state’s most populous county drew 14,204 people in the 2004 presidential election and 7,187 voters in the 2002 general election.

“It looks like we will do a little bit better than the last non-presidential election year,” Kulin said. “Everything has been going smoothly from what I’m hearing.”

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To the north in Washoe County, no first-day figure was immediately available but officials estimated it also would total in the thousands.

“It’s been a wonderful turnout,” said Lydia Van Diest, the county’s senior deputy registrar of voters. “There has been some waiting in line, but the waits haven’t been that bad.”

Many voters said they had made up their minds about candidates and wanted to avoid the long lines of Nov. 7, the day for regular voting.

Early voting at shopping centers, government buildings, athletic clubs, grocery stores, schools and other locations continues through Nov. 3.

In Washoe County, early voting will take place at 27 different sites, including 19 fixed locations.

In Clark County, eight sites will be open daily during the two-week early voting period. An additional 66 polling places will be open at various times.

In 2004 and again during this year’s August primary election, more Clark County residents cast ballots during early voting than on Election Day.

“Early voting makes voting more convenient and accessible to our citizens who lead increasingly busy lives,” said Clark Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax.

Nevadans are voting in races for the U.S. Senate and House, governor and other statewide constitutional offices, state Assembly and Senate, and many local offices.

They also will decide the fate of statewide ballot issues.

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