Bye-Bye, Burk


RENO, NV - "Have you seen my boxes? The boxes in my office that I've packed?" asks Dan Burk of his staffers as he packs his office away.

When its your last day on the job chances are a few things are going to get lost.

But give Burk some slack.

He's been Washoe County's Registrar of Voters for the last 14 years.

In his career that means a total of 52 elections, of that 9 have been presidential contests.

He came to Reno in 1997 when the elections office had seen four department heads in just three years.

One year later as assistant registrar of voters he watched a hand count after incorrectly cut paper ballots would not be accepted by counting machines.

The result would determine the winner of a U.S Senate Race between Harry Reid and John Ensign.

“We were the last county in the nation to certify the election and we weren't done I think until December 10th,” says Burk.

He would be appointed head of the elections office in 1999, and watch over many nail biters.

And we're not just talking political races.

Nevada he says is one of the most progressive voting states in the country.

While we were one of the first to get the touch screen ballots, the county only had them 12 days before a primary election.

His public personality has always been easy going--a no worries kind of guy.

And that would be tested the last four years as record numbers of Washoe County voters would show up for the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

“Washoe County is particularly interesting. We are the only county in the state that is divided right down the middle between the 2 major political parties. Republicans and Democrats. So they always do all of their polling here and send the national press here. They want to see what's happening in Washoe County Nevada,” says Burk.

He says despite the cynicism about the voting process these days, it is more open, accountable, and professional than ever before.

He says serving has been an honor.

“What we do is at the heart of democracy,” says Burk.

Who will replace Burk?

Luanne Cutler.

She has served under burk and been in the office for 25 years.


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