Heavy voter turnout expected | RecordCourier.com

Heavy voter turnout expected

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

More than 5,000 Douglas County residents voted early, and Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Reed thinks turnout could top 70 percent for the 2000 general election.

“It’s been a really big turnout,” Reed said Friday from the Minden Inn, where she and her staff oversaw the majority of early voting. “I think (Tuesday’s) going to be a busy day. There’s been a lot of interest.”

Reed said her office sent out more than 2,700 absentee ballots, up from a little over 2,000 in 1996. The more than 5,000 early voters were the most the county has ever had. In 1996, more than 3,000 people voted early, said Reed.

Reed attributed the busy polls to the presidential election. Throughout the early voting process, lines waxed and waned at different times of the day but were constant, she said.

“I anticipate all the polling places will have lines (Tuesday) and at 7 a.m., they are going to be very busy,” she predicted. “The lunch hour and after 5 p.m. are probably going to be very busy, so voters may want to opt for some of the off times.”

She said turnout among the absentee voters was higher than 33 percent. Absentee ballots went to Spain, Guam, Asia and all over the United States, she noted.

While voters mulled their choices, the candidates and political action groups have been tallying their contributions and expenses heading into the election. Tuesday was the deadline for filing the second required expense report.

The Douglas County Agricultural and Open Space Preservation Committee, which is backing Douglas question No. 1, reported $54,266 in contributions and $49,308 in expenses.

The group’s report says the biggest single contributor was The Nature Conservancy with $16,500.

The American Land Conservancy made two $5,000 donations. Jacques Etchegoyhen, the ALC’s Nevada director and a Douglas County commissioner, and his wife Cristine contributed $1,000.

The TPL Land Action Fund, based in Boston, Mass. contributed $2,000.

Gardnerville residents Carl and Marilyn Malkmus contributed $1,750.

Seventeen donations varied from $100 to $1,000, and the majority totalled $100 or less, which is the cutoff for identifying contributors.

Douglas County races have been inexpensive, according to the reports.

The Tahoe Justice of the Peace contest is the most expensive local race. Richard Glasson reported $11,971 in contributions and $6,023 in expenses, while Ray Finnegan raised $1,968 and spent $2,500.

Jim EnEarl, who is unopposed for another term as East Fork Justice of the Peace, reported no contributions or expenses.

District 1 County Commissioner Steve Weissinger raised $6,590 and spent $3,630 even though his opponent, Al Wagner, dropped out. Likewise, District 5 commissioner Kelly Kite raised $1,100 and spent $180. His opponent, Elaine Smith, who also dropped out, raised $626 and spent $50.

Unchallenged District 3 commissioner Bernie Curtis reported $1,398 in contributions and expenses.

The school board candidates reported nominal expenses.

Area 1 candidate Dave Brady reported no contributions and an expense of $30. His opponent, Veronica Hulsey, raised $155 and spent $122.

Area 3 candidate William Laughlin reported $450 in contributions and $1,608 in expenses. His opponent, George Echan, had not filed a report as of Wednesday.

Area 4 candidate Randy Green raised $1,350 and spent $446 while his opponent, John Raker, raised $998 and spent $715. Raker’s report was filed a day late, meaning he could face a $25 penalty.

Area 5 candidate Jim Keegan, who is unopposed, spent $30 and raised nothing.

Area 7 candidate Keith Roman reported no contributions but spent $425. His opponent, Charles Pullen, had not filed a report as of Wednesday.

In the Assembly District 39 race, Republican Lynn Hettrick continued to trounce Democrat Willie Edwards in the fund-raising category.

Hettrick had raised more than $108,000 and spent more than $88,000, mostly by giving money to other GOP candidates.

Edwards had raised $8,128 and spent $7,919.

For information about polling places, call the clerk’s office at 782-9020.