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ELECTION DAY: Nevada attempts unprecedented all mail-in primary amid coronavirus concerns

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 18:50:50-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada election officials are confident Tuesday's primary will be smooth as the state attempts the first ever, largely mail-in voting primary amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move away from a traditional in-person voting model is a direct result of concerns involving the coronavirus and limiting contact among people.

"We have never done an all-mail election for a statewide election in the State of Nevada in a past," said Nevada Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley .

Thorley says there were several logistical challenges to overcome, including alerting the United States Postal Service about the 1.8 million ballots that had to be delivered to voters and additional machines needed to process the mail-in ballots for results.

Last month, President Trump tweeted he was against mail-in voting and raised concerns about voter fraud.

Nevada election leaders say they have the utmost confidence they have safeguards in place to prevent possible tampering with election results.

"One of the main security features of mail-in voting is the signature on the ballot return envelope," said Thorley.

"That signature must match the signature we have on file. If a voter fails to sign the envelope, or it doesn't match, the ballot will not be counted," explained Thorley.

RELATED: Primary election continues despite coronavirus pandemic

Election experts say voter turn out for the 2016 primary election was less than 20% and this primary is happening during a very unusual series of events and voters may be more motivated to cast their ballots.

"The combination starting with COVID-19, the economic fallout from that and then the racial unrest after the Floyd killing in Minneapolis have all added to an atmosphere of great intensity, anxiety on the part of the American public and that's reflected in Nevada as well," said Dr. Robert Lang, a professor of public policy at UNLV.

Lang says two key congressional races that could swing either political direction in November are being closely watched.

Representative Susie Lee, who currently represents Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, and Rep. Steven Horsford, who represents Nevada's 4th Congressional District, are both facing challengers from within their own parties.

"If you're within the party, [the primary] is your change to take [the party's nomination for the seat] but aside from some personal foibles on both candidates parts, nothing major has arisen and they would appear to be on route to retaining the party nomination," explained Lang.

Lang says typically incumbents enjoy a reelection advantage.

Rep. Horsford admitted to an extramarital affair last month with a staffer.

He issued a statement indicating the affair had gone on for years but he has no plans to resign.

According to a published report, Rep. Susie Lee is facing scrutiny after her husband's company, which operates resorts and casinos outside of Nevada, received government loans for small businesses connected to the CARES Act.

The report indicated Rep. Lee has no involvement in any programs or applications her husband's company applies for or receives.

Here is a list of ballot drop off locations across Clark County.

Ballots can be dropped in the mail as long as they are postmarked by June 9.

Those who have lost their primary ballot or did not receive one can go to one of three locations for a new ballot and vote in person:

Desert Breeze Community Center:
8725 Spring Mountain Road
Las Vegas, NV

Paradise Recreation Center
4775 S. McLeod Drive
Las Vegas, NV

Clark County Election Dept.
965 Trade Drive, Ste. F
Las Vegas, NV.

You must be in line by 7 p.m. to receive a new ballot and for it to be accepted.

Election officials warn the results will be slower than normal due to the mail-in ballot processing.

The election results will be certified and official by June 16.