Republicans write in Trump on mailed primary ballots

An election worker monitors the line, or lack there of, at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center on the first day of in-person early voting on Jan. 27.

An election worker monitors the line, or lack there of, at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center on the first day of in-person early voting on Jan. 27.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

A surprising number of Republicans are returning the presidential preference primary ballots they received in the mail, with at least some where voters wrote in former President Donald Trump’s name.

Nevada law doesn’t actually allow write-in candidates.

Clerk-Treasurer Amy Burgans said that as of end of business Friday, her office has received 5,659 ballots either through the mail or dropped off.

Of those 3,409 were from Republicans and 2,250 from Democrats.

A total of 401 residents early voted at the polls, with 286 Republicans and 115 Democrats casting a ballot.

Polls closed for early voting on Friday night, but reopen 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at five locations across the county.

In addition to the Douglas County Community & Senior Center, Kahle, Dresslerville and TRE community centers, polls will be open at the Indian Hills General Improvement District offices on Tuesday.

Because Democrats are expected to award delegates based on the primary vote and Republicans aren’t, it was anticipated most of the voters in the primary would be Democrats. President Joe Biden appears on the preference ballot, which he probably wouldn’t have had the Legislature not approved the presidential primary in 2021.

“People are disgusted with the process this year,” she said. “They are saying what a waste of money it was to run an election.”

Burgans said the clerks are providing information at the election center on how residents can share their concerns with their state representatives.

“As much as we understand their frustration, they really need to be voicing their concerns to the Legislature that made this decision,” she said. “I will be testifying to this in 2025 and some of the concerns I’ve heard from my constituents. I’ll make sure I’m present when this topic is brought up at the Legislative session, which I’m sure it will be.”

On Thursday, Douglas County Republicans conduct caucus meetings at fire stations and community centers across the county where they will select delegates to the county convention and indicate their preference for president.

With Trump the only major candidate on the caucus ballot, it’s expected he will collect Nevada’s delegates.

Republicans have been working to boost awareness of the caucus including demonstrating along Main Street in Gardnerville.

Burgans said her main focus for the primary election in June is recruit more election workers

Estimates are that Tuesday’s primary will cost Douglas County between $125,000 and $250,000, according to Burgans. Some of that may be reimbursed by the state.

“It depends on how much money they have and how much the counties request,” she said. “Certain things like mail costs will go down because we budgeted for way more than we need.”

Because when she was preparing the budget for the election nearly a year ago, she estimated it based on previous primaries.

“Postage for the ballots coming back is much lower than we budgeted for,” she said.

She said she is going to reopen recruitment for election workers on March 1 for the June primary.

“My main focus is making sure we have enough,” she said.

Burgans said she usually has 100-120 workers and only 46 turned up for the first election of 2024.


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