Thanks to the election laws in Nevada, you can vote early in the Silver State. Read on to learn about how early voting works and what you need to know about voting before Election Day in Reno and Washoe County.
What Is Early Voting?
Early voting is a process whereby we can cast our ballots, in person, during specified periods before both primary and general elections. Ballots so cast are counted with those tallied on Election Day. Since moving to Nevada, I have early voted for almost every election and can attest to the ease and convenience of the process. Imagine a government service actually designed to accommodate the citizenry and you've got early voting.
Nevada is one of 34 states offering early, in person voting, and one of 32 permitting early voting without an excuse. Just show up at one of the polling places and cast your ballot.
Who Can Vote Early?
All registered voters are eligible to vote early if they choose to do so. Early voting is for you if you can't, or don't want to, go to your specified polling place on June 12 (2012 primary election) or November 6 (2012 general election). With early voting, you have a 14 day window prior to each Election Day during which to vote, and you can do so at numerous locations.
When Is Early Voting?
Primary Election - Early voting begins on May 26, 2012, and ends on June 8, 2012. Early voting will be available throughout Reno and Sparks, and in Incline Village on Lake Tahoe's north shore. Here is a list of locations where you can vote early. To vote in the 2012 primary election, you must be registered to vote ahead of time. Refer to How to Register to Vote in Reno and Washoe County for details about procedures and deadlines.
General Election - Early voting begins on October 20, 2012, and ends on November 2, 2012. Early voting will be available throughout Reno and Sparks, and in Incline Village on Lake Tahoe's north shore. Here is a list of locations where you can vote early. To vote in the 2012 general election, you must be registered to vote ahead of time. Refer to How to Register to Vote in Reno and Washoe County for details about procedures and deadlines.
Early Voting is Not Absent Voting
Early voting must be done in person. It is not the same as casting an absent, or absentee, ballot. Written absent ballot requests must be received by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday prior to Election Day. To be counted, the completed absent ballot must be in the Registrar of Voters office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Go to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters website to learn about obtaining and casting an absent ballot. For questions about obtaining an absent ballot, call (775) 328-3670.
Register To Vote
You must register in order to vote. At this point, Nevada only provides online voter registration for residents of Clark County (Las Vegas area). The system will be expanded to include the entire state at some point, but a schedule had not been announced. You can register in person at Nevada DMV offices, any state welfare agency, and county clerk / registrar of voters offices. In Washoe County, mail your application to Registrar of Voters, 1001 E. Ninth St., P.O. Box 11130, Reno, NV 89520-0027, or present it in person. Mailed applications must be postmarked no later than the 31st day (Saturday) prior to Election Day. Refer to How to Register to Vote in Reno and Washoe County for details about procedures and deadlines.
If you have any concerns about whether or not you are registered to vote, check the Washoe County Voter Registration Status website. By simply entering your last name and birth date, you can make sure you are actually registered and that your information is correct. This is vital should your right to vote be challenged.
Nevada Primary Elections are Closed
A closed primary election is one in which voters are only allowed to vote for candidates from their own party, as well as those in nonpartisan contests. For example, a registered Democrat will receive a ballot with the various Democratic primary candidates, plus those running for nonpartisan offices and ballot questions applicable to his or her precinct. Nevada recognizes two major political parties (Republican and Democrat) and two minor parties (Independent American and Libertarian). If you are registered to vote as anything other than a Republican or Democrat, your ballot will only show nonpartisan office candidates and ballot questions applicable to your precinct.
In the general election, however, voters may vote for all candidates and questions on the ballot regardless of the party affiliation under which they are registered.
Information from the Washoe County Registrar of Voters for the 2012 Elections
- Washoe County Registrar of Voters
- 2012 Primary Candidates
- 2012 Offices Up for Election
- Washoe County Voter Registration Statistics
- Nevada Voters' Bill of Rights
- About Becoming an Election Worker
- Find Your Voter Registration Status
Source: Washoe County Registrar of Voters.