C’mon, people! You can do better than this!
According to the Secretary of State’s website, as of May 2014 there are 775,950 active registered voters in Clark County. But according to the Clark County Elections Department, as of Sunday just 33,094 of them had turned out to vote.
Now, we know from past elections that about half the people who end up voting do so early, so the two weeks of early voting gives us a pretty good idea of how many people will participate. And with early voting coming to a close on Friday, we’ve only seen a pathetic little turnout of 4.3 percent in Clark County!
This has got to change! So, to help you get motivated, here are five reasons to get educated, turn out and vote:
1. You can change the outcome of a race. Don’t think it’s not true. Races in Nevada have been decided by as little as one vote in the past! Some end in ties that have to be decided by a card draw. Others see just a few hundred people decide the outcome, as when Democrat Justin Jones defeated Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin by just 301 votes in 2012, allowing Democrats to retain control of the state Senate in 2013. You never know — especially in a low-turnout election when so many decide to stay home — when your vote might be the deciding one.
2. You can send a message. Upset that the Democrats didn’t field a top-tier candidate against Gov. Brian Sandoval? You can tell the party to shape up by casting a ballot for None of These Candidates. Think the race between Republicans Sue Lowden and Mark Hutchison has been too nasty? You could do the same thing in that race. Don’t like the political machinations behind some of the local judicial races? You can seek out candidates who aren’t part of the machine to support.
3. Or, better yet, you can make a decision. Even more potent than a protest vote, however, is the ability to decide some serious questions in state politics, especially on the Republican side of the ballot. Who should win the ongoing civil war between libertarian conservatives and the establishment? The outcome of the lieutenant governor’s race, state Senate Districts 8 (Patricia Farley versus Clayton Hurst and Lisa Myers) 9 (Becky Harris versus Vick Gill, Ron Quilang and David Schoen) and 20 (Michael Roberson versus Carl Bunce), Assembly District 22 (Lynn Stewart versus Richard Bunce) and plenty of others hinge on primary voters.
4. The future of law enforcement is at stake, too. The Clark County Sheriff’s race offers a stark contrast, between an establishment-endorsed successor to Sheriff Doug Gillespie — Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo — with a candidate supported overwhelmingly by the rank-and-file, former Capt. Larry Burns. And there’s retired Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody styling himself as a reformer who may be a dark-horse candidate, not to mention former Las Vegas Township Constable Bobby Gronauer, who ran that office free of controversy for years.
5. Speaking of the constable, you can help stop the revengers. Incumbent Constable John Bonaventura, who has disgraced himself and his office with various stupid antics, is now trying for higher office. Then again, he has to, since his conduct in office was so bad, the Clark County Commission voted to abolish it outright. He’s fighting it out with incumbent Mary Beth Scow in Commission District G. If you think the commission is dysfunctional now, wait and see what happens if Bonaventura gets into the place. Bonaventura crony Lou Toomin is trying the same trick in Commission District E, running against incumbent Chris Giunchigliani, and Bonaventura’s ex-wife, Susan, is challenging incumbent Susan Brager in District F. All of these revengers should be shown the door.
6. Also, they give you a sticker to wear that says “I voted.” And won’t that help you embarrass your lazier, less engaged friends and co-workers?
So, c’mon, people! We can do better! Now get educated, get out there and vote!