Voting turnout low, but enthusiastic |

Voting turnout low, but enthusiastic

by Caryn Haller
A lone voter casts a ballot at the Gardnerville Ranchos Fire Station on Tuesday morning.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

In the first two hours of primary voting Tuesday, 100 residents had cast their ballots at the Gardnerville Ranchos Volunteer Fire Station.

That’s about half the numbers that show up to vote in the regular November election, according to team leader Jeff Gorton.

“It’s slow in comparison to the fall. During the regular election we average about 100 per hour,” Gorton said. “This is an important election because we’re choosing now the people we’re voting for in November.”

Ranchos resident Tara Nixon, 35, has been voting in the primaries and November elections since she was 18.

“It’s one of your privileges you have as a responsible citizen,” she said. “I need to back up my opinion with my vote.”

Having grown up with her father in law enforcement, Nixon took her vote for sheriff, the only contested race in Douglas County, seriously.

“Law enforcement works closely with the sheriff, and it’s important the sheriff is backing them up and supporting them,” she said.

Wanting to be an example for her children, Nixon brought her three young sons with her to vote.

“It’s important my sons see what a responsible citizen of the community does, and that they know they have a voice,” she added.

In her 23 years as an election volunteer, Eileen Decker remembers when children weren’t allowed to vote with their parents.

“In the beginning, kids couldn’t go up to the machine with you, and now they can. They used to have to stay back and pretend vote with a sample ballot,” the 70-year-old said. “I brought my four kids with me to vote, and they all vote now as adults. It’s very important to them.”

Decker said she continues to volunteer because it’s a privilege to vote, and she wants to help in any way she can.

“I have a friend who’s 91, and blind now, but she has voted in every election. It’s very important to her that she votes,” Decker said. “I bring her an absentee ballot, and we sit and discuss the candidates. She still very much wants to vote.”

Decker also encouraged young voters to get to the polls.

“When Randy Green was the government teacher at Douglas High School, he really stressed voting,” she said. “We have great team workers who help out first-time voters.”

George Whorley and his wife Leslie have both voted since they were 18, and stressed the importance of voting in November.

“If we’re going to take back any part of the country at all, we need to take back the Senate,” George said. “Nothing is happening. Harry Reid steps on everything and I think that’s bad. Anything that comes over from the Assembly needs to have a vote, not just stuck in a drawer some place.”

George also added it was important to him to vote for the sheriff’s race this year.

“I could’ve not voted, but I need to be here to vote for Ron (Pierini). He’s an all-American individual,” George said. “In Douglas County — and I contribute it a lot to Ron Pierini — we have one of the best sheriff’s departments in the state, if not the nation.”