Behind General Election numbers

Mail-in ballot drop box at Washoe County Complex
Mail-in ballot drop box at Washoe County Complex(Terri Russell)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 2:56 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - About 55% of Nevada’s eligible voters participated in the November 2023 General Election.

Clark County had a 51% turnout, Washoe 63%. Surprisingly, Elko County had a 57% turnout.

And that may tell us about how rural counties--Republican strongholds are feeling these days.

“Yea, the rurals were down,” says Professor Fred Lokken from Truckee Meadows Community College. “Elko especially. And I think they just feel like they are left out of it.”

Lokken says mail-in balloting made up more than 50% of the vote, with in person early and same day voting a distance second and third.

Democrats tended to use the mail-in balloting, with Republicans tending to vote in person. Issues which drove people to the ballot box included abortion and the perceived threat to democracy.

“The abortion issue touched all lives,” says Lokken. “Obviously motivated young voters and women to a level had not anticipated or experienced in this type of election. But there were men who felt they had to. They were compelled to vote because they wouldn’t believe that this was foisted upon women.”

Lokken says the non-partisan voter played a key role in determining who would win elected office.

If the candidate was perceived too radical, or an election denier, the non-partisan would shy away. Non-partisan voters are the second most registered voter statewide--which means issues, or a candidate’s stance will be more important than whom they represent.

“They are who they are,” says Lokken. “They are either a former Republican or a former Democrat for the most part. Before we saw this shift in American politics, we had less than 10% of non-partisan. So, the fact that we are seeing more than 30% here and I swear 40% in Clark County indicates that these are disgruntled Democrats and Republicans. But right now, mostly Republicans.”

Lokken says this year’s election further shows Nevada is trending more blue than purple. And the future looks even more so. As more and more people settle in Nevada--especially into Clark County, southern Nevada will take even more of a lion’s share of the vote. Expect to see more statewide and U.S. Senate seats filled by southern Nevadans. It’s something we in the North will have to get used to, Lokken says.

Candidates from here in the north will have to work harder to be credible statewide.