Voter registration deadline passes |

Voter registration deadline passes

Brendan Riley

CARSON CITY (AP) – Tuesday marked the last day for Nevadans to register to vote in the Nov. 7 elections. The total of active voters was expected to top the 1 million mark, although actual Election Day turnout might be only 60 percent of that.

Ellick Hsu, elections deputy for Secretary of State Dean Heller, said that by the time all 17 counties turn in their registration figures to his office the total should be just over 1 million. At the start of October, the total figure was about 992,000.

Hsu also said he expected the voter turnout by the time polls close on Nov. 7 will be close to the turnout in the 2002 elections – 59 percent of the state’s active voters.

The predicted turnout is a lot lower than the 77 percent turnout in 2004, when the presidency was at stake. A lower turnout in the “off-year” elections is typical, even though all statewide elective offices are up for grabs.

While Nevada’s registration total will be slightly over 1 million, that’s lower than the nearly 1.1 million voters registered for the 2004 elections.

There are roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats in the state, and voters registered in the major parties account for about 80 percent of all voters. The rest sign up as nonpartisans or splinter-party members.

This year’s expected registration total of just over 1 million is only about half of an estimated 2 million Nevadans who are 18 or older and eligible to vote – if they chose to sign up to do so.

Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax calculated the registration total for his county, Nevada’s largest, at about 648,000. He also figured that 55-60 percent of those voters would make it to the polls in the general election.

While there was a steady stream of people registering on the final day to do so, Lomax added, “It doesn’t even begin to compare with what happened in 2004, when we had long lines all day long.” Just over 684,000 Clark County residents signed up to vote that year.

Washoe County Registrar Dan Burk also reported steady traffic, and agreed it was “nothing like what we saw in 2004.” He predicted the Washoe County registration total would be just over 195,000, compared with about 233,000 two years ago.

Burk also said turnout at the polls should be higher in Washoe County than in Clark, between 65 percent and 70 percent. He said interest in the 2nd Congressional District race between Republican Dean Heller and Democrat Jill Derby will help produce the strong turnout.

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