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Ballots start arriving in mail

The Election Tent is up in the parking lot behind the Douglas County Courthouse in Minden.
Kurt Hildebrand

People have already started dropping off their mail-in ballots with the Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer’s Office

Ballots started arriving in the mails on Monday across the county. In anticipation, the Election Tent is up in the parking lot behind the Douglas County Courthouse in Minden.

Election Administrator Dena Dawson said 83 ballots were accepted as of Tuesday evening and that 605 have been returned as undeliverable.

Sunridge resident David Earle said he got his ballot, his parents ballots and the ballot of a lady who lives on the next street.

“I’m waiting to see if my six cats get a ballot, too,” he said.

Sunridge residents receive their mail at a cluster box.

Earle said he’s never met the lady whose ballot he received, but he intends to walk it over.

“Sometimes I get a neighbor’s mail in my slot, and that’s no big deal, but to get someone else’s mail-in ballot is a big deal.”

Earle said he is concerned that someone unscrupulous might take a ballot they received for someone else, fill it out and mail it to the Clerk’s Office.

The election clerks compare signatures on the ballots they receive with those on record before counting them.

A 15-year resident of Sunridge, Earle said he was living in Florida during the 2000 election when that vote was challenged.

“You hear so much about these things in the national news,” he said. “I plan on voting in person. These mail-in ballots don’t mean anything to me. I’ll end up tossing it in the trash.”

Ballots went into the mail on Thursday and have been arriving across Douglas County.

“If a person is mistakenly delivered a mail ballot by the USPS (wrong house) we ask that the person treat is just as they would any other piece of mail that is misdelivered and return it to the post office so they can correct the error,” Dawson said on Wednesday. “Additionally, if folks receive a ballot for a voter, mailed to their address, that does not or no longer lives there, we ask that they mark the ballot ‘not at this address’ and return it via the USPS so we can begin the inactivation process.”

Dawson pointed out that trying to vote using someone else’s ballot is a felony.

“The forgery will be found during the signature verification process and our office may turn ‘uncured’ signature issues over to law enforcement for investigation,” she said.

The clerks are asking residents who haven’t received a ballot to check their registration at govotedouglas.com or to call their office.

The county conducted the primary election entirely by mail, but turn-out for primaries tends to be much lower than the general election, especially in a presidential year.

As of Sept. 25, there were 37,770 active voters in Douglas County who should receive a mailed ballot.

The Nevada Legislature approved a bill over the summer clarifying that voting could be done either through the mail or in-person.

While voters may drop off the ballots they received in the mail at any time up to Nov. 3, early in-person voting will start 10 a.m. Oct. 17 at the Douglas County Community & Senior Center in Gardnerville. Early voting will continue there Monday trough Saturday until Oct. 30. Hours are available at govotedouglas.com or on your sample ballot.

In-person voting on Nov. 3 will be at the Douglas County, Washoe Tribe, Kahle and Topaz Ranch Estates community centers between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Like the primary, preliminary results will be released after the polls close, but those results will change.

Ballots placed in the mail must be postmarked by Nov. 3 in order to be counted. As those come in, revised results will be reported.