Informed votes critical in low-turnout campaign

Early voting is under way for Clark County’s April 2 municipal primary elections. Eager electors won’t have to wait long to cast a ballot.

Off-year spring elections never have commanded much voter enthusiasm. Plenty of citizens are still burned out from the previous fall’s federal and state campaigns. Unfortunately, plenty of others simply don’t care. As a result, turnout typically is pathetic. It’s depressing that 15 percent turnout would exceed this year’s low expectations.

The offices on the ballot are important. The mayors of Henderson and North Las Vegas are up for re-election, and six city council seats and one Municipal Court judgeship are up for grabs. These are the people who make or enforce city ordinances and decide how your tax dollars are spent on public safety, parks and public works, among other functions.

These officials assume stewardship of cities with hundreds of thousands of residents after winning just a few thousand votes. It’s hardly enough for them to declare a mandate from the public to do anything.

But the sad truth is the valley’s municipal politicians prefer low-turnout campaigns. They don’t have to compete with federal, state and county candidates for donations or voter attention. Under state law, cities could move their elections to the fall of even-numbered years, but they choose not to.

If you’re waiting for June’s general election before engaging in campaigns, you might not get that chance. Two Las Vegas City Council races will be decided in April because they feature only two candidates. And any person in a race with at least three candidates can win election outright next month by capturing a majority of the total number of votes.

Check out candidate websites. Read the Review-Journal’s news coverage of the elections — stories about campaigns can be found at

The Review-Journal’s editorial board has issued the following endorsements: For Las Vegas City Council, Bob Beers in Ward 2, Stavros Anthony in Ward 4 and Suzette LaGrange in Ward 6. For North Las Vegas mayor, John Lee. For North Las Vegas City Council, Isaac Barron in Ward 1 and Tony Gales in Ward 3. For Henderson mayor, Rick Workman. For Henderson City Council, Ward 3, John Marz. And for Henderson Municipal Court, Department 1, Sandra Allred DiGiacomo.

Cast an informed vote.