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Nevada June primary shows high preference for mail ballots

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Alex Gonzalez

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(Nevada News Service) Voting rights advocates say turnout for Nevada's June primary election was low overall but those who did vote did so mostly by mail.

Just over 383,000 voters participated, with 65 percent voting by mail.

Priscella Gomez, democracy manager for Silver State Voices, said it is worth noting despite Nevada's most populous counties -- Clark and Washoe -- seeing 63 percent and 70 percent voter turnout by mail respectively, other more rural counties, like Douglas, have seen a substantial increase.

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"We noticed that in 2022, vote-by-mail in Douglas County had the highest and they remain the highest for 2024, which was 79 percent in Douglas," Gomez reported. "It's interesting to see that county is continuously increasing."

Gomez explained Nevadans have become more familiar with the vote-by-mail system. The state first transitioned to universal mail ballots in 2020 as a response to the pandemic, a change made permanent in 2021. Ballots postmarked on or before Election Day are counted, which has received Republican criticism for the risks they think it poses to election security.

Noe Orosco, program manager for Silver State Voices, said while mail-in voting might be on the increase in some parts of the state, it is important to highlight other Nevadans may choose to make their voices heard in other ways. Orosco recommended the data be used to ensure resources are allocated appropriately throughout the state.

"Maybe it's a dropbox location rather than through the mail," Noe Orosco, program manager for Silver State Voices, suggested. "There's just a variety of ways that Nevadans can exercise that right, and I think this information just shows that we need to be very mindful of that, or we, the state, need to be very mindful of that."

Data show about 17 percent of those who voted in the Nevada primary did so in person during early voting. Close to 18 percent showed up on Election Day. Voting rights advocates said what is most important is making your voice heard. They said each county registrar is doing their job to ensure voting is secure and accurate.