Be sure to take your sample ballot with you when you go to vote so as to expedite the process, but if you’ve already used it to line your garbage can, the efficient polling place workers will be able to help you despite all of that.
Primary elections are party-specific elections. If you are a registered Democrat and want to vote for your favorite independent candidate, you’re out of luck. You can vote for only the candidates in your chosen party. Of course, you can change your party affiliation, but it won’t take effect until the next primary election.
In the general election in November, you can vote for any party’s candidate, but not so in the primary. Also, if you have moved since you last voted, you can still vote, but you need to put in a change of address with the registrar of voters office so they can contact you for the next election with a sample ballot.
If you put in for an absentee ballot and did not send it in yet, take it with you and you can surrender it to the election workers and then vote at that time. If you want to use the absentee ballot, you need to take it down to the registrar’s office, fill it out to your satisfaction and submit it in person at the office prior to 7 p.m. this evening so your vote can be counted.
If you try to vote today and you’ve already sent in your absentee ballot you could be in violation of federal law for trying to vote twice. That’s a big NO-NO. The old cliché to vote early and vote often is not found to be humorous when it comes to federal voting laws so don’t try that.
The Washoe County registrar of voters office is open today if for any reason you have a question about your voting status, but it might be wise to go to the office rather than trying to contact them on the phone as I’m sure they are going to be overwhelmed with questions — especially today.
Your precinct number is on your sample ballot, if you have it, which should help you find your polling place. Also on your sample ballot there is a bar code that would really help the polling place workers in speeding your voting process if you take it with you when you go to vote.
If you have been really negligent in your voting and haven’t voted in a long while you might have to square things with the registrar of voters on that issue before you can vote again. If you have not voted for a while you sort of get kicked into the dead letter file due to inactivity. It sort of comes under the heading “You Snooze, You Lose.”
Voting is so important for many reasons, least of which is that when you don’t vote it’s like telling all those people who fought for your right to vote that their sacrifices, and maybe even their life were a waste of time and maybe even their life. When you show up to vote, it shows that when you thank some veteran for his or her service it is not just lip service.
In addition to voting, every registered voter and every citizen in general needs to be aware of the candidates running for every office that is up for election. Informed voters make better choices.
The Washoe County registrar of voters thinks that only about 20 percent of the registered voters are going to turn out for this primary election. That percentage is horrible. It is that kind of voter turnout that allows the other 80 percent to sit back and throw stones when they don’t like those who get elected, but it is those same stone throwers who didn’t bother to vote in the first place.
In the end then, get off your backside and go cast your informed vote today for your candidate of your choice. You wanted your rights, now use them.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.