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More than 150K participate in early voting for presidential primary

More than 93,000 Nevada Democrats and nearly 58,000 Republicans participated in early voting for the presidential preference primary — numbers that are close to past caucus participation but are lower than previous primaries.

“We’re not going to reach those numbers because these aren’t competitive primaries,” said Dan Lee, a UNLV associate professor in the political science department.

In 2020, more than 105,000 Democrats participated in the caucuses, which saw a win for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. The 2016 Republican caucuses drew more than 75,000 votes, with Donald Trump winning nearly 50 percent, while the Democratic caucuses had 84,000 participants and a win for Hillary Clinton.

The 2024 primary is likely to reach a similar turnout as the 2020 caucuses, Lee said, but not the primary for the 2022 midterms where nearly 470,000 voters participated.

Typically presidential elections have a higher turnout than statewide races like the governor and U.S. Senate, Lee said, but the candidates running — President Joe Biden and former President Trump — aren’t facing real competition.

Early voting numbers also show that primaries bring a higher voter turnout than caucuses, especially with Nevada’s automatic mail ballot system that makes it easy for people to vote, he said.

Primary election numbers cannot be used, for the most part, to predict how the November general election will go, Lee said.

“It’s going to be low voter turnout in these primaries,” he said. “Does that mean that people are just turned off from Trump and Biden and we’re gonna therefore have low turnout in the general? No, that’s not the case at all.”

Fewer than 130,000 Nevadans sent in a mail ballot for the presidential primary with 1,510 mail ballots rejected for issues such as a wrong envelope or a missing ballot, according to updated data from the secretary of state’s office on Monday. That represents 1.1 percent of the ballots that were returned. About 2,550 ballots also need signature cures, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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