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Election Officials Plan Mail-only Primary Election, No In-person Voting Amid Coronavirus Fears

A man casting a ballot at a voting site.
Daniel Clark
The Nevada Independent
James Obenauf casts his ballot at the voting center inside K. O. Knudson Middle School on June 12, 2018.

Lee en español.

Nevada election officials are planning to effectively cancel in-person voting and move the state’s primary election on June 9 to mail ballots only in the wake of the coronavirus crisis gripping the nation, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske announced on March 24.

It’s the latest activity facing a logistical change as officials try to prevent the spread of the upper-respiratory disease. Questions have surfaced regarding the safety of in-person voting, a process that can trigger lines of people and multiple surface touch points as voters make their selections.

Under the plan for the primary election, all active registered voters will receive an absentee ballot in the mail — no request necessary — and can mail it back free of charge, officials said. They can also drop it off at a designated county location.

Cegavske said the decision was necessary as the training of thousands of poll workers was scheduled to begin next week, and a significant number of public health concerns would come from bringing all of those poll workers together.

“Because of the many uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the immediate need to begin preparations for the 2020 primary election, it became necessary for me to take action regarding how the election will be conducted,” she said in a statement. “Based on extensive conversations with Nevada’s 17 county election officials, we have jointly determined that the best option for the primary election is to conduct an all-mail election.”

Cegavske said that there will be at least one in-person polling location in each county to handle same-day voter registration and to assist voters who have issues with their mailed ballot, and that the locations will be set up “to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers alike.”

Visit The Nevada Independent for the complete story.

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