Fear and optimism are the two words that describe this year’s election.
Fear of vote and voter suppression, fear of what happens if Democrats fail to show up and vote, fear that the US Postal Service, controlled by a political appointee of Donald Trump will find a way to lose or delay the ballots.
Optimism for a change in direction. Optimism that we will no longer be a pariah on the world stage. Optimism that enough of us will get out and vote, thus erasing any possible challenge of the election results.
In Nevada, all registered voters should have received their ballots in the mail. If you haven’t, chances are you’re not registered, your registration has expired due to not voting or your address has changed. Voter materials are not forwardable mail, so you must change your address with your local county election department or with the Nevada Secretary of State.
If you haven’t received a ballot, it’s not too late. You can go to the Nevada Secretary of State’s website and register or change your address. You won’t receive a ballot in the mail unless the State had your address or registration prior to the Oct. 6 deadline for mailed ballots.
For the first time this year, you can even register at a polling place, but you’re advised not to wait until the last minute because there will be lines on election day.
The easiest way to register is online at www.RegisterToVoteNV.gov but the deadline is midnight on Oct. 29. If you miss the Oct. 29 online deadline, you can still register in person at any polling place for early voting or on election day.
All the major party candidates are included in the Spectrum’s voter guide (reprinted in this issue and online at LasVegasSpectrum.com/VoterGuide) which can be taken with you into the voting booth.
Whether people vote by mail or in person, they are urged to vote early to overcome delays in processing mail by the U.S. Postal Service and any long lines on Election Day. Clark County will have more than 100 voting centers but that’s fewer voting locations than normal because of COVID-19. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 10. Instructions, including placing the ballot (two,
double-sided sheets) into the “privacy sleeve,” placing the ballots (and sleeve) inside the outer envelope and then signing the outside envelope exactly as your name is shown on the mailing label. Failure to follow the instructions, whether dropping off the ballot or mailing the ballot, could result in the ballot being void.
Clark County will have 35 early voting sites between Oct. 17-30. People can drop off their mail-in ballot at the early voting sites listed on their sample ballots or go to https://tinyurl.com/Election-Sites
Nevada State Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said he believes “everything is under control” and expects a smooth election process this fall. “I think Nevada is in good shape,” Parks said.
Parks is encouraging people to mail in their ballots early and vote in person if they have a concern their ballot might not be received and processed in time. If they do vote by mail, Parks said people shouldn’t wait until the week of the election to turn it in.
Parks said mailers sent to the public from the U.S. Postal Service should be ignored since they provide misleading information, including that people should request a ballot. They are sent one automatically.
Annette Magnus, executive director of the Institute for a Progressive Nevada (PNN) and Battle Born Progress (ProgressNow Nevada Action), said she’s excited and expects a good election and isn’t worried about voter intimidation or any breakdown in the system.
“We have a fabulous registrar of voters in Clark County in Joe Gloria,” Magnus said. “He does a fantastic job.
If someone votes twice like the president has told them to do, that is a felony and will be prosecuted. I would highly suggest people not do that. Don’t break the law.”
Magnus called the voting systems in place safe and effective. There are so many options for people to vote, and that only helps the process, she said.
“We ranked them by the order of the way we would like to see them do it,” Magnus said. “Voting by mail is the easiest to vote right now. The system is safe. They should do that if they can.” When voters receive their mail-in ballot at home, they don’t have to mail it in but can drop it off at designated locations in Clark County, Magnus said. “In addition to that, you have early in-person voting, and then you have Election Day voting,” Magnus said. “I would not wait until Election Day because we don’t know what the lines are going to be like. So my suggestion is vote early and get your ballot in.”
Magnus said people will have the ability to track their ballots to ensure Clark County received them. That information will be on the ballots, she said.
Magnus said the biggest concern about people sending in mail-in ballots is that they forget to sign them. The county will check those signatures with those on file with the Election Department.
“It was a problem during the primary, and the Election Department does chase those ballots down to try and get a signature for them,” Magnus said. “If they come in without a signature, or if people don’t read the instructions as they are marking that ballot, that could void
The county will attempt to contact the voter if there are problems that need to be cured as long as voter registration and contact information is up to date, Magnus said.
Voters should update any change of address online with Clark County or the Nevada Secretary of State, Magnus said.
Here is a list of Election Day vote centers where people can also drop off their ballots. https://tinyurl.com/Nov-3-sites
Rob Schlegel, publisher of the Spectrum and long-time editor of the LGBTQ and Progressive Voter Guide had a few words of caution.
“I suggest voters find a location at an early voting site and hand deliver their ballots. This will insure there is no last-minute funny business with the US Postal Service. I don’t trust Trump and I don’t trust his hand-picked, politically motivated Post Master.
“Either that, or vote in person at one of the early voting sites.” Asked about voting on election day, Schlegel said, “I urge everyone to get their ballot in early or vote in person during early voting. If something goes wrong, if there’s a traffic accident or computer melt-down on election day, even the best of us might give up if we’re faced with a six, eight or twelve hour wait. Don’t risk it! Vote and do it early.”