Though the election doesn’t formally arrive until Sept. 13, early voting began on Saturday across the state, with more than 6,100 votes cast on day one, according to Secretary of State Ross Miller.
In Washoe County, nearly 7,000 votes had been counted after the second day of early voting ended Monday. About 3,600 votes have been cast by Republicans and almost 2,600 votes have been cast by Democrats, according to figures compiled by the registrar of voters office.
The remaining 800 or so votes were cast for either Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano or independent candidate Helmuth Lehmann.
Washoe County Registrar of Voters Dan Burk said turnout has been better than expected so far, particularly after he saw a lack of interest in the election at the close of voter registration.
“For once the battle ground is not Clark County,” Burk said, adding that more than half of all eligible voters in the CD2 election call Washoe County home.
In addition, Burk said that absentee ballots were coming in at a heavier pace than anticipated.
However, he doesn’t expect total voter turnout to exceed initial projections of between 30 and 35 percent when all is said and done.
At this local Scolari’s, however, voters came in droves.
Jobs and spending were the key issues of concern for many, including Jack Leach, 74, a small-business owner who filed in and out of the voting booth in a matter of seconds.
A recipient of Social Security insurance, Leach said it was time the federal government reigned in its freewheeling ways, even if it means making changes to entitlements that he benefits from.
“We have to stop spending,” he said.
Leach wouldn’t say which candidate he voted for, but did acknowledge, “I don’t like any of them.”
Leach said he wished Nevada’s infamous “none of the above” option were available, but it only appears in races for statewide offices, such as the governor, treasurer or the two U.S. Senate seats.
On the other hand, Diana Haberland, 63, knew exactly whom she wanted to cast her lot with.
She said she is tired of the anti-tax pledges of Republicans and that Democrat Marshall would be “more willing to compromise.”
For Haberland, who worked for the Washoe County School District, jobs — or, more precisely, the lack thereof — is the single biggest issue facing the country.
She worries about the bleak jobs market and what it means for her sons and daughter-in-law. One son, she said, had actually gone back to school to make a career change because prospects in his former industry did not look good.
John Robinson, 66, knows a thing or two about the loss of jobs across Nevada in recent years, contributing to the nation’s highest unemployment rate.
Having worked in the construction industry nearly all his life, Robinson has seen many changes he doesn’t like.
“I’m tired of what’s happening in this country,” the self-described conservative said, adding that he voted for Republican Mark Amodei. “Deficit spending is going to kill us.”