Yes, Las Vegas, there is an election today.
Voters in the cities of Las Vegas, Mesquite, Boulder City and a part of North Las Vegas can participate in the democratic process today, choosing city leaders in races that have mostly failed to capture the citizenry’s imagination.
While early voting turnout has been robust in Mesquite and Boulder City, which have mayoral contests, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas polling places have been sleepy, if not downright comatose.
Those trends should continue today.
Larry Lomax, the registrar of voters, has said Las Vegas and North Las Vegas would be lucky if 10 percent of eligible voters turned out.
After looking at early voting numbers, Lomax said, he "unfortunately" stands by his prediction.
While the low turnout might not be good for democracy, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller is taking advantage of it to launch a pilot "election command center" that is expected to be used again for the 2008 presidential elections.
The command center, which has been operating since early voting began last month, has trained staff to give technical support to poll workers about voting machines, answer voters’ questions and dispatch criminal investigators when callers report voter intimidation or other illegal campaign practices, said Miller.
The seven investigators, positioned throughout the state, are trained in election law.
One anonymous caller complained about intimidation during early voting at the Doolittle Community Center, Miller said.
When investigators arrived, they found nothing irregular.
"The public has lost faith in the electoral process," Miller said, pointing to problems during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. "The command center has proven to be a great tool for upholding the integrity of the election process."
The race for the Las Vegas Ward 5 City Council seat has garnered the most attention this election cycle.
Ward 5 voters’ mailboxes have been flooded with negative fliers from the two candidates, Ricki Barlow and Stacie Truesdell.
Barlow is a Las Vegas City Council liaison on leave from his city post. Truesdell is an attorney.
Both campaigns have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and have been run by professional consultants.
Ward 5 includes the historically black West Las Vegas community, the city-owned 61 acres, and much of the area southeast of Rancho Drive and north of U.S. Highway 95.
The rest of the city can only vote for a Las Vegas Municipal Court judge.
Two attorneys, Lynn Avants and Martin Hastings, are running for the robe.
In North Las Vegas, only the Ward 2 City Council seat is on the ballot.
Incumbent Ward 2 Councilman William Robinson is facing John Stephens.
Clark County runs the cities’ elections, and is reimbursed by the municipalities for the costs, Lomax said.
The election will cost the city of Las Vegas about $350,000; North Las Vegas $50,000; Boulder City $30,000 to $35,000; and Mesquite $17,000, Lomax said.
The primaries in April cost the municipalities about the same amount as today’s general election, Lomax said.2007 Municipal ElectionsNews & voter info
WHERE TO FIND ELECTION DAY INFORMATION Polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. To find out your designated polling location, or whether you live in an area that is having an election, you can call the Clark County Registrar of Voters at 455-VOTE (8683) or visit accessclarkcounty.com/ election/ home.asp To issue a complaint about electioneering practices, you can call the secretary of state’s hot line at 1-800-758-6440.