Editorial: Primary season

Since Nevada began allowing early voting in 2000, the number of people casting ballots before Election Day has increased every year. Election officials expect that trend to continue.

Voters have become accustomed to the convenience and flexibility of the option.

Saturday marks the first day of early voting in advance of the primary election. Go to www.clarkcountynv.gov/vote for a list of times and locations, which can vary from day to day. The process lasts through June 10. Those who don’t vote early can still participate during traditional balloting on June 14.

Remember, though, that if you’re not a registered Democrat or Republican, you can’t vote for candidates affiliated with either party. There will, however, likely be at least a few nonpartisan races on your ballot — including judicial and education-related posts — depending upon where you live.

It’s also important to note that changes made during the 2015 legislative session mean that a handful of races will be decided in this round of balloting rather than in November’s general election.

In nonpartisan races featuring three or more participants, a candidate who earns more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary will have essentially won the office. In partisan races that draw candidates from only one party, the top primary vote getter will be the de facto winner, needing just one vote in the general election to assume the seat.

The new rules come into play in three Clark County legislative contests and a few down-ticket races, particularly those involving Las Vegas Justice of the Peace candidates.

Many names on the ballot may not be familiar to the average voter, so it’s important to consult a good educational resource, such as the Review-Journal’s Voter Guide. It was posted online Friday evening at www.reviewjournal.com/voterguide and will be included as an insert in Sunday’s newspaper. The guide features background information on candidates in every race, along with their views on issues relevant to the office they seek.

The current presidential campaign highlights the power of an active, involved and passionate electorate. Choosing instead to sit on the sidelines — whether out of apathy or principled protest — has its own consequences. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

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