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Clark County Sets Up For Record Breaking Voter Turn Out

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Associated Press

We're two months from the General Election and 1.2 million Clark County residents are registered to vote.

Election officials say turnout this year could be a record.  

A law passed by the Legislature during a special session this summer requires the county to send out mail-in ballots to all registered voters this year, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Joe Gloria is Clark County's registrar of voters. He said the mail-in balloting options, combined with early voting could mean a large jump in participation this year.

“There is great potential for them to break the record without any doubt and people are engaged,” he said.

Gloria believes it is that engagement that has led to hundreds of people applying to be poll workers this year. Earlier in the summer, Gloria put out a plea for more people and more than 2,000 responded.

“I’m sure the extra pay doesn’t hurt, but I think there is just more interest and we’re very happy to see it,” he said.

Those poll workers will be at dozens of early voting sites and 125 in-person polling locations on Election Day. 

Gloria is still looking for bilingual poll workers not just for Spanish and Tagalog but also for Vietnamese, Mandarin and Korean.

“In 2018, we experienced that we had folks that were in the general public showing up needing assistance in those languages,” he said.

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While they're not mandated by federal laws to provide help in those languages, Gloria said his department is going to do what it can to make sure more people are part of the process. 

“If there is a need in the community, we want to do everything we can to fill that need," he said.

Gloria is also looking for people who speak other languages to help staff a hotline for Election Day.

The registrar said sample ballots will start going out Sept. 27 and mail-in ballots will be going out October 7. If you do not receive your mail-in ballot by October 14, he advises you to call the registrar's office to make sure you get one.

“The mail-in ballots will start to drop locally on October 7. We encourage voters once they receive that to review the instructions, do the research you need in order to make your selections, vote that ballot and send it back in the postage-paid envelope or come to mail-ballot drop-off location and drop it off if that’s the way you prefer,” he said.

Gloria wanted to be very clear that if you put a ballot in a post office box that means you are using the post office - which he doesn't believe will have any problems - to bring the ballot to the election office.

However, if you drop off your ballot at a designated election office drop-off location, that is going directly to the election department.

Those drop-off locations will be open at all early voting sites and at polling places on Election Day.

“At all early voting locations and all election day sites, we’ll have staff standing next to a ballot box where they’ll deposit that ballot once they see that it’s been properly sealed and signed,” he said.

Under the law passed by the Legislature, EVERY registered voter will get a mail-in ballot, and you do NOT need to request one.

President Donald Trump's campaign filed a lawsuit challenging Nevada's law. A federal judge dismissed the suit this week, saying the campaign failed to show how mail-in balloting would harm it.

During a campaign rally in Minden, the president told his supporters that they should be watching over the polls because of fraud concerns.

"They're trying to rig an election and we can't let that happen. I hope you're all going to be poll watchers. I hope you are," President Trump said, "Because with you people watching the polls, it is going to be pretty hard to cheat. I'll tell you I wouldn't want to be a cheater."

Gloria is not concerned about fraud in the least.

“We take a great deal of pride in the service that we provide and upholding the integrity of the process is what we do,” he said.

He said there are a lot of behind-the-scenes processes that the general public doesn't know about that keep it free from fraud.

As far as anyone wanting to be an observer on Election Day, he welcomes them because they add to the transparency of the process. He also noted the county has allowed observers for many years. 

“We will not allow them to disrupt the polling place. There are some very specific rules that they need to follow,” Gloria said.

The rules include not wearing hats or T-shirts supporting one candidate because that is considered electioneering. They also have to stay in a designated spot, and they cannot talk to voters. 

Instead, observers can give written questions to the team leader at the polling site. There will also be a limit on the number of observers allowed at each site so the county can maintain social distancing rules.

Also, Nevada does not have assigned polling places, which means you can cast a ballot at whatever early voting site or polling place you choose on Election Day.

The information about where to vote will be on your mail-in ballot.

“But you never know where you’re going to be when you decide to vote," Gloria said, "We provide the information so you’ll have it at the ready depending on what day you determine to vote.”

The office will also contact you if your signature doesn't match the one on your ballot. You can request an update of your signature before Election Day. 

RESOURCES:

Clark County Elections Department

Secretary of State Elections 

General Election Facts vs. Myths

Guests

Joe Gloria, Registrar of Voters, Clark County

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