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Nevadans take to polls for presidential primary — BLOG

Updated February 6, 2024 - 9:53 pm

Nevadans are headed to the polls this week to decide who they want as their presidential candidate from the two major parties.

In Tuesday’s Democratic presidential preference primary, voters will choose from among President Joe Biden, author Marianne Williamson, Jason Palmer and others. More than 93,000 Democrats participated in early voting, mostly through mail ballots.

The Republican nominating process takes place Thursday in the Nevada Republican Party’s caucus in which former President Donald Trump and lesser-known candidate Ryan Binkley are participating.

While Nevada Republicans can also vote in the state-run primary on Tuesday, a caucus on Thursday will decide GOP delegates for the national convention.

Supporters of Republican candidate Nikki Haley, who decided not to enter the caucus, have expressed plans to vote for her in the primary, even though it won’t win her any delegates. Nearly 58,000 Republicans have participated in early voting.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Check out our blog below for a look at what voters said at the polls.

Polls close for the day

Clark County spokesperson Stephanie Wheatley announced at 7:39 p.m. that polls in Clark County had closed.

No results have been posted yet to the Secretary of State’s website for any of Nevada’s 16 counties or Carson City.

The first ballots to arrive at Clark County Election Headquarters arrived around 8:25 p.m.

For live primary results, visit reviewjournal.com/nevada-presidential-primary-results-2024.

— Taylor Lane, 8:25 p.m.

First-time voter casts ballot for long-shot

North Las Vegas resident Bianka Oyoque, 18, voted for the first time Tuesday at the Meadows Mall, as a Democrat. She voted for Gabriel Cornejo, who is challenging President Joe Biden for the party’s nomination.

“I don’t know much about him (Cornejo), but I feel like me and him have similar things we want to change for the United States,” Oyoque said.

Oyoque said one of those things is making it easier for people to immigrate to the country and to be allowed to stay without fear of deportation.

“I feel like if you already worked here for a while and somehow served for our country, you should still have the same legal rights just like every other U.S. citizen,” she said.

Those seeking asylum in the country should be permitted entry “as long as they have good intentions, that’s all that matters,” she said, adding that to do so they must also make sure “they come with no weapons, illegal drugs and such.”

— Jeff Burbank, 6:40 p.m.

Pair gives nod to ‘None of these candidates’

Two Republican voters, who gave only their first names, Peter and Roberta, voted at the Meadows Mall precinct for the ballot option: “None of these candidates” because the candidates on ballot just did not appeal to them.

“It’s a very difficult situation,” Roberta said. “I’m not really able to do anything better than that.”

Both also agreed they wanted to wait and see if either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump actually make it as the major party candidates later this year before deciding who to vote for.

Asked what issues matter to them the most, Peter said, “Economy.”

“For me, I just don’t have a simple one, I look at everything,” Roberta said. “I don’t see a good direction for the economy, I don’t see a good direction for the wars going on, and I don’t see a good direction with the immigration. But I don’t know if any of these candidates will do any good.”

— Jeff Burbank, 6:35 p.m.

With Trump not on ballot, voter turns to ‘None of these candidates’ option

After voting at the Meadows Mall, Las Vegas resident Keith Foster said he was a nonpartisan but registered Republican to be eligible to cast a ballot in the Presidential Preference Primary.

But he could not find a candidate he liked on the primary ballot “because Trump wasn’t on there.” He cast his ballot for the selection, “None of these candidates.”

Foster, 61, a retired teacher for the Clark County School District, plans to vote for Trump in the fall general election if the former president is the GOP nominee.

“I think he did some things that were good in the past when he was president,” he said. “The problem is, I wish he would just, you know, keep his mouth shut sometimes and stay out of TikTok’n and Facebook’n so much. Be presidential.”

Foster mentioned that he didn’t like the rioting and the break in of the U.S. Capitol building that happened among Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021.

On the primary ballot, Foster said that former Vice President Mike Pence, who dropped put of the race last year, was the only Republican name he recognized.

“I didn’t even know who the other ones were,” he said. “So, maybe I just need to do some more research.”

— Jeff Burbank, 6:30 p.m.

‘He’s like, pro-worker’

David Santos, 44, of Las Vegas, a Democrat, emerged Tuesday afternoon from the precinct at the Historic Fifth Street School in downtown Las Vegas to explain why he voted for President Joe Biden in the primary.

“He’s like, pro-worker,” said Santos, a union painter for the past 20 years. “He supports workers. He supports equity.”

“I believe Biden has pretty much our national security in priority,” he said. “He’s tough on bringing jobs back to America. He’s tough on making sure we get good jobs.”

“We definitely need to switch up and keep the direction that we got going, creating a strong America,” he added. “I like how he’s moving the building back better and stuff.

Santos emphasized his agreement with Biden’s support for “equity” in society, saying that the problem of homelessness in Las Vegas is an example of an “imbalance” in how funds are distributed in the community.

— Jeff Burbank, 5:09 p.m.

Grandkids of Henderson mayor get taste of voting

Earlier in the day, Henderson Mayor Michelle Romero and her six grandchildren showed up to cast their ballots at the Henderson City Hall polling place.

Romero submitted her ballot for the presidential primary, but the children had the chance to practice civic participation in a more fun way – voting in a mini booth for their favorite flavor of ice cream.

— Taylor Avery, 3:35 p.m.

Trump supporter votes for ‘None of these candidates’

As a steady trickle of voters made their way in and out of Henderson’s Heritage Park Seniors Center, Diane Cain said she cast a vote for “None of these candidates” because Donald Trump wasn’t on the ballot. “He’s the only one that can bring this country back to greatness again,” Cain said of Trump, adding she was going to be participating in Thursday’s caucuses, as well.

Cain, 62, of Henderson, laughed while wondering if it was possible that the None of These Candidates option on the Republican ballot might actually earn the most votes, given the number of Trump supporters who might choose that option. “That would be really hysterical,” Cain said.

Cain listed illegal immigration, inflation and jobs as the most important issues for her.

She said she was “all for” a November rematch between Trump and Biden

— Brett Clarkson, 3:30 p.m.

Secretary of state stops by Henderson polling place

Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar said the state has been trying to expand its capacity to process votes, so Nevada won’t be known nationwide again for being the state that takes days to count its ballots. Aguilar said this election will give officials information about how to adjust that process for the June and November elections.

Aguilar said it’s of “great concern” to his office whether confusion around the dueling Republican primary and caucus elections is causing voters to not participate in the process at all.

“I’ve been in communication with them early on, from the time they made this decision because again, I knew how this was going to impact voters,” he said of his conversation with the state Republican party. “We have to think about voters first before we think about our own priorities, our own goals or our own agendas. And so I think it’s an opportunity for us to sit down and have a conversation and say, ‘here’s the data.’”

Aguilar said if the party wants to move forward with the caucus, it would be important for the legislature to weigh in.

— Taylor Avery, 3:30 p.m.

Traffic light at Boulder City voting site

On a cold, windy and rainy primary day, traffic was light in the early afternoon at the Boulder City Recreation Center building next to City Hall.

One voter emerging from the polling place, Laura Robertson, a Boulder City resident, reported that she had voted the Democrat ballot and said she was satisfied with her choices. She voted for President Joe Biden and plans to do so again in November.

When asked about the most important issues facing Nevadans, she said, “Employment, of course, and education. And I think President Biden has strong programs in those areas.”

— Ron Eland, 2:37 p.m.

‘The only answer for us is Trump’

“Put me down as Chicanos for Trump.”

So instructed Philip Lorea, 70, of Summerlin, as he left the Sahara West Library.

Why Trump?

“To take this country back to where it used to be,” he said, explaining his support for the former commander-in-chief. “To stop the crime, to drop the prices and boost the economy back to the way he kind of had it.”

Trump is the only candidate with the fortitude to accomplish that task, Lorea continues.

“And most of the people I know are on the same page about Trump coming back and getting rid of the disaster we got going right now.”

But if Lorea is pro-Trump, he’s not so enthused about Nevada having a primary and a caucus this year, even if he plans on participating in both. “I think it’s nonsense,” he said. “It’s a waste of time.”

After predicting a Trump win come November, Lorea shares his political priorities for Nevada.

“For the people to have secure work, secure jobs,” he said. “But primarily, to stop the crime, to go back to going after the criminals. And the only one who talks about maybe cleaning up is him. I see the only answer for us is Trump.”

— Jason Bracelin, 1:50 p.m.

Millennial voter backs Biden, but wants more

Vincent Nava, 31, voted for Biden at the East Las Vegas Library in the early afternoon among a steady trickle of voters filtering in and out of the polling station.

But like many other millennials this election cycle, the Las Vegas resident and Democratic voter isn’t thrilled with his options.

With a looming race between Trump and Biden, Nava, who works at a state government office dealing with immigration and refugees, said he finds himself wanting more out of a candidate.

Biden, still, aligns closer with his views, he said.

“I wish there was a more progressive candidate out there that could move us forward,” Nava said.

— Alan Halaly, 1:30 p.m.

Ambivalence and optimism in Summerlin

Ambivalence tempered with optimism colored the mood of Biden voter Judy Gamble Adams, 69, of Summerlin, as she left the Sahara West Library.

She described the president’s performance in his first term as “so-so” and would have preferred an alternative to Biden

“But I didn’t see one I liked,” she explained. She also shared her thoughts on what Biden’s future priorities should be. “I just hope he keeps everything intact for the senior citizens,” she said. “And I do agree about doing something with the border.”

Still, she sees hope for her preferred presidential candidate this fall, as it wasn’t all dark skies on this overcast day. “I think Biden should win,” she predicted.

Jason Bracelin, 1:05 p.m.

Haley voter, 68: ‘We need some young blood in there’

In a steady drizzle of rain outside Henderson City Hall, Daniel Tedesco, 68, of Henderson, said he voted for Nikki Haley.

“I think we need a change,” Tedesco said. “We need some young blood in there. She seems like she’s got a level head.”

Tedesco said he would “rather not say” when he was asked what he thinks of Donald Trump.

“I’m Republican, but I don’t really like what’s going on,” said Tedesco, who said he probably wouldn’t be voting in the GOP caucuses on Thursday.

Tedesco said he was hoping that the 2024 presidential doesn’t end up being a rematch of Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump. Biden did a fair job, but not a great job, he added.

Tedesco listed the border and income taxes as some of his top issues. “I think the country’s ready for a woman, and I think she could do a good job,” he said of Haley.

Brett Clarkson, 1 p.m.

Voters playing their voting cards close to their chests

Not sure if it’s the precipitation or the partisanship of the day, but few voters willing to go on the record about who they cast their ballot for at Sahara West Library. A half-dozen folks have told us they voted for Biden, but declined to tell us their names. As for the other side of the aisle, we have yet to encounter any Trump voters — on the record or off.

— Jason Bracelin, 12:25 p.m.

Exercising their bodies, not franchise

At the Veterans Memorial Leisure Center in Summerlin, seniors were less focused on the election than in physical fitness and discussing their rising electric bills.

At 11:30 a.m. during a light rain, groups of women milled about, carrying yoga mats and foam rollers following an exercise class, far outnumbering those looking to vote.

Thirty minutes later, Roger Smith exited the polls, having voted for Nikki Haley.

“I’ll vote for anybody but Mr. Trump,” the 77-year-old said.

“I think it’s frustrating,” Smith said, when asked about the dueling Republican primary and caucus. “The Republican Party is no longer the party of the people. It’s a small group of people who are following a demagogue.”

Asked about a potential Biden-Trump rematch in the fall, Smith said, “It’s not the greatest of choices. But as I said before, I’ll probably vote for anybody before I vote for Mr. Trump.”

— Christopher Lawrence, 12:15 p.m.

Satisfied with Biden

Proudly donning her “I Voted” sticker, Patricia Donley, 78, said casting her ballot for Biden was a no-brainer at the Nellis Shopping Center in Las Vegas.

Donley, who said her father once served as 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern’s chief of staff, appreciates Biden’s experience as a politician.

“[My father] would have another heart attack if he could see what is going on in this country,” she said. “This is absurd.”

Biden has smarter advisers around him, better knowledge of foreign affairs and generally brings dignity to the country, she said. Overall, Donley said she’s been satisfied with what he’s done as president.

Gun control and education are some of the most important issues that guided her vote, she said. Donley isn’t thrilled about a likely Trump-Biden rematch, but maintains Biden is the better choice.

“Biden’s not a yes man,” Donley said.

— Alan Halaly, 11:45 a.m.

Dampened spirits

As the rain drizzled down outside the Sahara West Library, soaking passersby, voters’ spirits seemed similarly dampened, in some cases.

Brook Burking, 62, from Las Vegas, a Democrat who voted for Biden, didn’t express much optimism about the forthcoming presidential election.

“It’ll probably be a hot mess,” he predicted.

Still, despite all the clouds turning the sky gray, he did acknowledge some bright spots during Biden’s first term.

“It’s fine,” he said of how the president’s been doing on the job thus far, “under the circumstances.”

— Jason Bracelin, 11:20 a.m.

A quiet morning

The polling place at Miller Middle School in Henderson was quiet and no one was voting around 11:20 a.m. A sign outside the school’s front entrance had a picture of a stop sign and noted, “Not an entrance,” and directed visitors with arrow signs to the doors to the school’s gymnasium.

About a dozen voting stations were set up, each with a green light that was illuminated when unoccupied.

Three folding metal chairs were set up against a wall and the area was designated as an observer section.

One poll worker told another: “Maybe around 3 o’clock we’ll be busy.”

Just outside the gym, middle school boys in physical education uniforms left the building to go outside with their class.

— Julie Wootton-Greener, 11:20 a.m.

None of these candidates

Outside Fay Galloway Elementary School in Henderson, voter Roxanne Somers said she was voting Republican in the presidential preference primary.

However, because Trump was not on the ballot, she said she would be casting a vote for none of these candidates, or essentially a protest vote.

Somers, 64, of Henderson, counted crime as one of her top issues, and said she hasn’t felt safe since Biden took office. She also spoke about the high cost of groceries.

“I wish Joe would bow out. I don’t think it’s him who’s running the country,” she said. “I really don’t, because he mumbles and jumbles way too much and he avoids.”

Somers said she would likely not be voting in Thursday’s Republican caucuses because of a surgery and mobility issues that she’s been experiencing. She said she thinks Trump will win in what is expected to be a rematch against Biden in November.

“I’m not saying he’s perfect, but he’s taken a lot of bullets for us,” Somers said of Trump. “He doesn’t have to do this, and it’s not about a power run, either, because he’s had power his whole life.”

— Brett Clarkson, 11:09 a.m.

Light rain, turnout in Henderson

Light rain fell outside the polling location at Green Valley High School in Henderson. Multiple signs taped to the side of the school and at parking lot entrances pointed voters to a building at the side of campus across from a basketball court. The door was propped open.

A police patrol vehicle was stationed in a side parking lot near the door. Orange cones in the main parking lot designated where voters could park. A handful of students walked outside the school’s main entrance and in the parking lot.

Outside, two poll workers taped a distance marker sign, reading “no electioneering,” to an orange cone.

No one was seen entering or exiting the building.

— Julie Wootton-Greener, 10:20 a.m.

‘Clerks are working extremely hard’

Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar chatted and took photos with poll workers at the Centennial Hills Thunderbird Park polling location Tuesday morning. Before that, he visited the Cambridge Recreation Center location.

Aguilar met with Nedra Cooper, the team leader of the polling location who has trained and has run a voting center for 20 years. A lot has changed since she first started, she said. In the past, there were huge machines that she had to push around. Now it is all electronic. It’s a big improvement, she said. The Thunderbird Park location had around 50 or so voters come in as of 9:45 a.m.

“Our clerks are working extremely hard,” Aguilar said Tuesday morning. “I know they’re under a lot of pressure. But they’ve been able to stick together. They’ve been working extremely hard and letting us know where we can help and where they don’t need us at the same time.”

Aguilar said that up until today, 80 percent of the votes the state has received were by mail, which shows an increased adoption rate of the automatic mail ballot system that was put in place in 2021. He hopes that trend continues, he said, especially on rainy days like today that might discourage people to come out and vote in person, mail ballots make it easier

The secretary of state, who was elected in 2022, said this election serves as an opportunity for the county to test its capacity to get results out more quickly, after the polls close.

“Nevadans want to know results (on) election night,” Aguilar said. “So as much as we can do to build that capacity to process the ballots that the county has on hand is critical to our success.”

— Jessica Hill, 9:45 a.m.

An alternative choice

Melvin King, 36, voted for Marianne Williamson in the Nevada primary this morning.

In the event of the rematch between Biden and Trump, King said: “I’m not a fan of either of those options, hence why I voted for Marianne Williamson.”

But if the general election comes down to the expected rematch, then “unfortunately, you have to pick the lesser of two evils,” whom King identified as Biden.

King thinks the general election “is going to be a very close call.” He said Nevada, Ohio and Michigan will probably play “pivotal roles” in the general election, which he also believes will be “contingent on the black and Latino vote.”

King, who holds a doctoral degree in organizational leadership, feels the main issue facing Nevada voters is “economic development.” He adds that “some might argue that securing the border” is the main issue, while student loan debt is critical.

“It’s almost like a disease for us,” King said about himself and similarly debt-saddled graduates.

He praised Williamson for speaking directly about “creating a more diverse culture within businesses.”

— Peter Levitt, 9:27 a.m.

Braving rain at Doolittle Community Center

Voters braved slight rainfall as they trickled in and out of the Doolittle Community Center near the border of North Las Vegas, and the Historic Westside.

Vicki Johnson said she mailed in her ballot, but arrived at the center Tuesday morning for a senior exercise class.

The 70-year-old said she cast her ballot for Biden because “he’s a peaceful man,” she said. “He’s about peace and he cares.”

She said the prospect of a war involving the U.S. most worries her.

Asked about local issues, she said: “It isn’t Biden’s problem, but we have a trash problem. We need trash picked up everywhere and it isn’t his problem, it’s our problem.”

Overall, she said about the president: “He’s doing a fine job.”

— Ricardo Torres-Cortez, 9:25 a.m.

‘Wish it was one way’

Small business owner and caretaker Marvin Campbell was accompanied by his 2-year-old granddaughter at Doolittle.

The 56-year-old said he voted “none of these candidates” for the primary and plans to caucus for Trump, yet he was still trying to figure out the logistics.

“I kind of wish it was one way,” he said about the two Republican elections.”But it’s not, so it’s something to roll with the punches.”

Campbell said the country was at its “most vulnerable and weakest time in our history,” adding that his main concern was the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration.

“I think they’re doing everything wrong,” he said. “I think the country is going backwards.”

Asked what he hopes Trump would accomplish, if elected, Campbell added: “More than he did the first time.”

A Christian, Campbell said, “I know for a fact that Trump is for me and I know for a fact that Joe Biden is totally against me.”

— Ricardo Torres-Cortez, 9:15 a.m.

Headed for a ‘dramatic’ rematch?

Olivia Curtis, 31, of North Las Vegas said she would vote for Biden. She thinks he is doing a “good” job and expresses no interest in finding an “alternative” for him.

Asked whether there has been enough voter education in advance of the Nevada primary, she laughed. “I live under a rock,” she said. “I have a baby, so I go to work and then go home.”

She thinks a rematch between Trump and Biden in the fall would be “dramatic” because “Trump likes drama.”

And if Trump loses? Curtis expects that to be “very dramatic.”

Curtis feels that Nevada voters are most affected by climate change.

“It’s very hot here,” she said. “While we’ve invested in renewable energy, we need to refocus that energy away from the Mojave Desert tortoise habitat and into our parking lots and our infrastructure.

“That will reduce the heat-island effect,” Curtis concluded.

— Peter Levitt, 9:15 a.m.

Disappointed with limited options

Las Vegas resident Lesia Rucker voted for Biden at the Rainbow Library, but she was disappointed with her options in the primary process.

Rucker, 54, thought she would be able to pick her top four choices like she said she’s been able to do in past elections.

She wanted to vote for Democratic candidate Jason Palmer, a tech investor and entrepreneur.

“I’m not at all satisfied with our current administration,” Rucker said.

Rucker voted for Biden four years ago and described his term in office as being a “mixed bag.”

She disagreed with the United States’ support of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people.

“I want to give him a chance to correct himself,” Rucker said of Biden’s potential second term. “I don’t think it’s fair to hand it over to someone with less integrity. For me, Trump has less integrity. At the end of the day, we don’t need a liar in there.”

Rucker said Palmer appealed to her as a candidate because of his youth compared with Biden and Trump.

— David Wilson, 7:40 a.m.

Deciding on immigration

Sporting a Golden Knights hat and an “I voted” sticker, 70-year-old Las Vegas resident Joe Trujillo said he voted for Biden at the Rainbow Library.

Trujillo said Biden’s done a magnificent job so far, but he was disappointed that the president caved on border issues.

“I think there’s a respect for the process of governing, and he wants to govern,” Trujillo said. “These other guys, not so much.”

Trujillo hoped Biden could secure comprehensive immigration reform if he is re-elected.

“We need the immigrants,” Trujillo said. We need the immigrants to do those jobs that we won’t do.”

— David Wilson, 7:30 a.m.

‘He’s been doing a terrific job’

After a quiet start at the Rainbow Library, near Buffalo Drive and Cheyenne Avenue, a few people arrived at the voting site one by one every few minutes.

A series of signs pointed voters from the library’s main entrance to the voting area through a side door.

Las Vegas resident Carol Weber, 78, said she would be voting for Biden.

“I think he’s been doing a terrific job,” Weber said.

She said alternative candidates would have been nice, but “we want to win.” Weber used the example of Haley challenging Trump and said no one like Haley had emerged on the Democratic side.

Weber praised Biden for his grasp of international politics and hoped he reinforces America’s allies abroad if re-elected.

“I’m fine with Biden,” Weber said. “He’s totally competent.”

She said questions about Biden’s age also applied to Trump and that Republicans “are not women’s rights people.”

— David Wilson, 7:22 a.m.

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