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Early voting continued Sunday without long waits to cast ballots

Social distancing spots marked by highlighter-yellow tape extended into the Doolittle Community Center parking lot Sunday afternoon, unoccupied by early voters.

Minimal activity in polling place parking lots was a familiar sight. While some locations saw lines in the morning, many others in the Las Vegas Valley had little to no wait to cast ballots as Clark County rounded out its first weekend of early voting.

Still, as of 3 p.m., some 17,000 voters had cast ballots Sunday, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said. At the same time Saturday, more than 17,800 had cast ballots across the county. Gloria said he received no reports on Sunday of the same type of long lines that voters experienced a day earlier.

He also said technology issues did not cause a considerable slowdown throughout the day.

“Second day usually smooths out because we’ve got experienced guys from the day before,” Gloria said. “The process of getting voters in and getting out gets much more efficient.”

In total, more than 27,000 people cast ballots in Clark County on the first day of early voting. Of those, 12,187 were Democrats, 10,267 were Republican, and 4,809 were nonpartisan.

Through Saturday, nearly 87,000 people cast mail ballots. About 50,000 of those came from Democrats, nearly 17,200 were from Republicans, and about 19,700 were from nonpartisan voters.

No wait

Nicholas Barkley, 36, of Las Vegas voted on Sunday at the polling location in the Meadows Mall parking lot with no wait.

He said he wanted to vote in person because he does not like that President Donald Trump has cast doubt on mail ballots. Barkley voted for former Vice President Joe Biden.

“He’s not as progressive as I would like, but, I mean, it can’t be Trump,” Barkley said.

The Meadows Mall location had no line at about 12:45 p.m., but many of the location’s 40 voting machines were occupied.

At the Doolittle Community Center on Lake Mead Boulevard, near Martin Luther King Boulevard, Karl Armstrong, 62, said he dropped off his mail-in ballot. Only a handful of people were voting inside the community center early Sunday afternoon.

He said he did not want to mess with mailing in his vote.

“I wanted to make sure that the election department had their hands on my ballot,” he said.

Well-organized, no issues

In Henderson, there were few people in line, but as the afternoon continued, voters had to form a short line outside a white tent in the parking lot of the Galleria at Sunset mall.

Many said they waited in line for less than 20 minutes and expressed that they wanted to make sure their votes were counted as legitimate for the election.

Deanna Hajjar of Henderson said the process moved quickly and election officials were organized. She and her family went to vote in person for the experience of voting, Hajjar said.

Las Vegas residents Larry Wilson, 48, and his 18-year-old daughter, Tatyana, voted at the East Las Vegas Community Center at Eastern and Stewart avenues.

Larry said he did not experience any issues with the process and that the poll workers were helpful. He decided to vote early in part because he has concerns with the U.S. Postal Service and worried he may not have his vote counted if he mails his ballot in.

The Wilsons supported Biden.

Jose and Bea Gonzalez, both 69, cast their ballots outside the Las Vegas Athletic Club near Lake Mead and Rainbow boulevards. Both supported Trump in 2016 and voted on Sunday to re-elect him.

“We don’t want our country to turn socialist,” Bea Gonzalez said.

Jose said he voted early because he wanted to avoid crowds later on. He also said he thinks voting in person is safer than voting by mail.

Mail ballots safe

Experts say voting by mail is safe and that voter fraud in the U.S. is rare.

“The truth is, I filed a lawsuit and we have been able to stop the sabotage of the United States Postal Service, and I have the utmost confidence in it,” Attorney General Aaron Ford said Sunday.

However, those who remain uncomfortable with the process can drop off their ballot or vote in person.

“You have so many different ways for people to be able to exercise their franchise, there’s really no excuse,” Ford said.

Early voting ends Oct. 30.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Alex Chhith contributed to this report.

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