by Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current
An exception two years ago aside, the turnout rate in Nevada primary elections is generally miserable, and early data for the 2022 primary election indicates this election will likely follow the trend.
At least 111,460 voters submitted early ballots in the first week of voting, according to Tuesday data from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. Statewide more than 71,000 Nevadans chose to vote by mail in the first week and another 40,000 voted in person.
The voting data shows preliminary voter participation in this year’s primary is off to a slow start compared to 2020, despite the availability of mail in voting.
Early voting during the 2020 primary election was cut altogether in favor of an all-mail system. Turnout in the 2020 primary election, held almost entirely by mail, was one of the highest in state history —491,654 votes were cast, nearly 30% of all registered voters.
Voter enthusiasm is a significant driver of turnout rates. Voters are also more inclined to cast their ballots when a race is competitive. In Nevada, nearly all statewide elected officials are Democrats and few are facing significant challenges in the primary. But there are high profile Republican primaries for several state and federal races, including-top-of-the ticket-contests for governor and U.S. senator.
Combine a relatively quite Democratic primary with high gas prices and the traditional headwinds facing the party that doesn’t control the White House in midterm election, it’s not surprising that Republicans voted in higher numbers than Democrats during the first week of early voting. Republicans cast 4,600 more votes than Democrats during the first week.
Republican voters favored voting in person to mail in ballots. According to state data, 57% of Republicans who voted in the primary so far have voted in person, while about 37% voted by mail.
By contrast, more Democratic voters chose to vote by mail compared to in person. About 43% of Democrats who have voted so far chose to vote by mail and 34% voted in person.
Early voting started May 28 and will run through Friday, June 10. The last day to vote in the primary will be June 14 on election day.
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has reported a slight but steady increase in active registered voters month over month. SOS representatives said the pattern could be credited to Automatic Voter Registration at DMV.
During the month of May, the earliest data available, the SOS office reported an increase of 15,403 active registered voters over April. The total number of active registered voters in Nevada is 1,821,058, an increase of 0.85%.
That increase is in large part driven by an increase in Republican and nonpartisan active registered voters. Active registered voters in the Republican Party increased by 6,982 or 1.30%, while nonpartisan voters increased by 5, 257 or 1.01%.
However, nonpartisan voters in Nevada can not vote for Democratic or Republican candidates in primary elections.
Active registered voters for the Democratic Party increased by 3,587 or 0.60%. The Independent American Party and the Libertarian Party of Nevada both saw a small increase of 0.02%. Active registered voters from a compilation of “other” minor political parties decreased by 413 (0.81%).
The Democratic Party still has a small 3% advantage in the number of active registered voters compared to the Republican Party. Democrats account for 33.13% of active voters while Republicans account for 29.90%. Coming in third are nonpartisan voters who account for 28.89% of registered voters in Nevada.
Early voting options
Eligible voters in Nevada who do not vote at an early voting location in the primary can still vote by mail or in person.
Registered voters should have already received a ballot in the mail. Voters who have not received their mail ballot by May 30 may contact the Election Department by email at [email protected] or by phone at 702-455-VOTE (8683) to request a new mail ballot.
In Washoe County voter assistance is available by email at e[email protected] or by phone at 775-328-3670.
To return the mail ballot, you can:
- Return it in person to the Election Department
- Mail in the ballot via U.S. Postal Service
- Drop off the mail ballot in a secure drop box at any early voting or Election Day polling place
Mail ballots must be received or postmarked by June 14 to be counted. All election day voting centers in Clark County are also mail ballot drop off locations and can be found here.
Nevada residents who are not already registered to vote can register online on the Nevada secretary of state’s website. Registering online requires a driver’s license number or ID card number. Those who are unable to provide this information will need to register in person at the county election office or through a mail form.
Nevada residents can also vote in person at a number of early voting locations, from malls to grocery stores. Early vote locations in Clark County and schedules can be found here. Early voting locations in Washoe County can be found here.
Nevada voters also have the option to register and vote on the same day at any election day vote center.
Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.