Las Vegas Valley residents cast ballots on day one of early voting
Saturday marked the first day of early voting in the Nevada primary election, and across the Las Vegas Valley, excited residents headed to the nearest malls and grocery stores to vote.
Four locations opened in Henderson, including two Albertsons and a large mall, but the biggest turnout was at the Galleria Mall, which opened at 11 a.m.
At 11:45 a.m., Lee and Sally Gatzemeyer from Las Vegas said they waited in line for an hour.
“We vote in every election,” said Sally Gatzemeyer. “I don’t mind waiting in line.”
Election officials did not have an estimate of how many people were expected to vote at the mall on Saturday. They said disabled residents could skip the line.
Ken Merrill stood in line for about 30 minutes with his wife and cane. The couple live less than 2 miles from the mall, and Merrill wanted to make sure he got his vote for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt.
“It’s our civic duty to come out and decide who will be in power,” Merrill said.
Volunteers, including attorneys, were dispersed to voting sites across the state on Saturday. Athar Haseebullah, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the ACLU was working with Silver State Voices to coordinate volunteers.
“Voting is the foundation of democracy, and no effort to undermine voter turnout will be tolerated,” he wrote to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Albertsons at College and East Horizon drives also had occasional queues, but Henderson resident Jerry Parr said the process was smooth and worth it.
“This is a critical moment, and we have to vote,” he said.
A large tent was set up in a mall parking lot near East Silverado Ranch Boulevard and South Eastern Avenue, allowing residents to vote in less than 20 minutes.
Mary Beth Miller said she carefully reviewed the Review-Journal’s voter guide before making her decisions, except for Gov. Steve Sisolak, Rep. Susie Lee and U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who she knew she would vote for.
“It’s so important that everyone votes,” Miller said as she waited for her husband to finish voting. Miller proudly boasted of two daughters who are also active voters.
Clark County Elections Department team leader Ruben Murillo said an hour after the tent opened that about 50 people cast ballots on Saturday. Although they started off with a large line, voters moved in and out quickly after the initial rush.
Down the street at the Albertsons on South Eastern Avenue and East Warm Springs Road, Henderson’s David and Leslie Molitz were the building’s sixth and seventh voters on Saturday morning.
“The sooner you vote, the sooner your vote is counted,” said David Molitz.
By the time the couple finished voting, poll workers hadn’t even finished putting up the signs indicating where to vote.
“We have to keep Sisolak for the sake of women,” said Leslie Molitz.
“Minimal computer problems”
Around 4 p.m., Robert Taylor dropped off his completed ballot at the Pearson Community Center in North Las Vegas. He said it was important not to wait and to vote when he had time.
Taylor, a barber, was born and raised in North Las Vegas.
“I always make sure to educate my barbers and clients about the importance of voting,” Taylor said.
He said he appreciated having the ability to vote by mail, but wanted to come in person because the community center is less than 2 miles from his house and it’s a place he likes to visit. .
“Local elections can affect you more and faster than the presidential election. Most people don’t know that,” Taylor said. “So it is very important to vote and be part of it. This is when you get your skin in the game and become invested. You want to secure your investment in your city.
Tammy Green, crew chief at Pearson, said things went well on Saturday. She said some people lined up as early as 7 a.m. before voting opened at 9 a.m. By 4 p.m., she said, 45 to 50 people had come to vote at the center.
“I feel good about this voting cycle,” Green said. “I think the next 13 days are going to be good. I think we are going to get good results, and I think everyone is going to do well.
At the Meadows mall, where Marlene Stewart was the shift leader, all booths were empty around 3:45 p.m. There was a queue at the site when it opened and for the first hour, it said. she clarified.
She said that apart from “a few minor computer issues” with the voting machines in the morning, things went smoothly.
“Day one there are always a few hiccups along the way, but it went well,” Stewart said.
Early voting continues through June 10 at locations scattered across the Valley. Locations and more information are available on the county’s website.