Clark County change to absentee voting procedure will save $50K

Updated January 2, 2018 - 5:35 pm

Registered voters in Clark County precincts with small populations will no longer automatically be mailed absentee ballots.

County commissioners voted Tuesday without discussion to end the decades-long practice. The change is expected to save the county more than $50,000 this year.

County Registrar Joe Gloria said the change was spurred by the county’s decision last year to use voting centers on Election Day in 2018. The centers, already used during early voting, allows voters to cast a ballot at any polling location in the county.

“There’s no sense in sending out a $5, $6 mail ballot to someone who will likely surrender it to vote on a machine,” Gloria said.

The decision will affect about 4,800 registered voters across 131 “mail ballot precincts” for the 2016 general election. Voters can request an absentee ballot.

Mail ballot precincts are those where either fewer than 200 people are registered to vote or fewer than 200 people voted in the last general election. They include both rural areas like Cold Creek and Goodsprings, and small “islands” of unincorporated county surrounded by land annexed by local cities.

Gloria said the county does not station polling places in these areas because of the low turnout, hence the automatic distribution of absentee ballots.

But, Gloria said, last year about one-third of voters sent an absentee ballot chose to cast their ballot at a county voting center during early voting days or to the Regional Transportation Commission building on Election Day.

Gloria said the county should mail a notice to residents of the former mail ballot precincts this month. Voters who live with a disability or are age 65 or older can request a permanent absentee ballot for all future elections.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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