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Washoe County online voter registration coming soon



For the first time ever, voters in Washoe County will soon be able to register and make changes to their current voter registration online.

Beginning in mid-April, the Washoe County Registrar of Voters office, working in collaboration with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office, will make the switch to Nevada Online Voter Access (NOVA), allowing citizens to go directly online and register to vote or update their current information.

During a presentation to the Washoe County Board of Commissioners today, Washoe County Registrar Dan Burk said the switch over to NOVA registration will not only be easier for citizens but also cost-effective, and will insure the integrity and security of voter registration by requiring a match for both the last four digits of the social security number as well as the Nevada DMV identification before the online process can be completed. “Although voters will still have the same cut-off date to register, the good thing is now, instead of going to the DMV, registrar’s office, or picking up paperwork and sending in back to us, citizens will soon be able to do this online. It’s a huge leap forward.”

Voters will also be able to confirm that they are registered and be able to download their sample ballot by going to www.washoecounty.us/voters and selecting “Am I Registered?” button on the webpage. The list of districts, as well as a map of each precinct, is also available through the “Precincts and Districts” box.

The initial funding for NOVA registration in Washoe County was paid for by $86,000 in federal funding provided through the Help America Vote Act. Washoe County and Clark County will be the first two counties in the state offering online voter registration, but the system will soon be expanded to all counties in Nevada. Currently, there are more than 215,200 registered voters in Washoe County’s 643 precincts. With a total population of approximately 420,000, Washoe County, with a 67 percent registration base, is substantially higher than most jurisdictions in the United States.

Washoe County Chairman Robert Larkin noted that the amount of registered voters is a large percentage of the population base of Washoe County. “That is a direct reflection of the hard work from the Registrar’s Office and supporting departments and shows an outstanding dedication to public service.” Larkin continued, “This is one of those lists that we are very proud to be at the top of the list.”

When online registration is up and ready to go in Washoe County, citizens will be able to go directly to the registrar’s webpage at www.washoecounty.us/voters and click on a tab that will take them directly to the Nevada Secretary of State’s website in order to register to vote or make changes to an existing registration.

“Online voter registration has the potential to have direct savings to the taxpayers. In the future, it will allow us to hire fewer temporary workers to input all of the data, since people will be registering themselves online.” Burk continued, “It will help to save the county funds in the long run and help our small staff in the planning and execution for the upcoming elections.”

To utilize the online system, citizens will need to be at least 18-years old and have a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license or Nevada identification card. The application process will pull the signature on file with the DMV and apply it to the voter’s registration record, and this will be used for identification for all future elections.

During his presentation to the commissioners today, Burk also reported that the county has received full reimbursement from the state for the cost ($278,000) of the Special Congressional Election held in September of 2011.

In addition, Burk provided information regarding the number of offices up for election in Northern Nevada and provided information regarding critical dates in the upcoming 2012 elections. He explained that his office has sent nearly 15,000 National Change of Address (NCOA) cards, corrected addresses on approximately 10,000 county voters and eliminated 4,500 inactive voter records of those who no longer live within the county.

Redistricting also was addressed during the meeting. Burk told the commissioners that the boundary changes made by all districts within the county, as a result of the 2010 census, have been applied and County voters have been assigned to the correct districts and precincts in time for candidate filing and the upcoming primary election. The maps of those updated districts are available on the Washoe County website at www.washoecounty.us/voters.

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