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Election

Where did the documents go?
As part of a cleanup of the city clerk’s section of the city of Reno’s Web site, a variety of links to election-related reports from the 2002 election were expunged.

The links gave access to electronic versions of such reports as the contributions-and-expenditure reports for such elected council people as Mayor Bob Cashell, Councilwoman Sharon Zadra and Councilman Dwight Dortch. The site also included the documents for the losers of the 2002 election and other elected officials, such as City Attorney Patricia Lynch and Municipal Court Judge Jay Dilworth.

“[City webmaster] Chris Good called and said they were cleaning up all the departments’ pages,” said City Clerk Lynnette Jones.

Jones said there will be new forms for political hopefuls and incumbents to fill out this year. Those documents will combine three forms—Contributions & Expenditures, Disposition of Unspent Contributions and Campaign Contributions the Totals of Which Exceed $10,000.

“Those reports [on the Web site] were getting a little old. I’m sure they could probably restore them, though,” Jones said.

Good was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Steve George, public information officer for the Secretary of State’s Office, which posts election forms for statewide offices as far back as 1998, said it’s important to give the public as much access to as many documents as possible.

“[Nevada Secretary of State] Dean [Heller] has always come down on the public’s right to know,” George said. “He likes them to be able to see where politicians or ballot measures are getting their money from. Lots of times that’ll show how they are going to vote. … More disclosure is better.”

However, for those who are considering running for Reno City Council in 2004—Wards 1, 3 and 5 are up for grabs—or just interested in keeping tabs of where politicians’ money came from, the 2002 documents are still on the city’s server, even though they are not linked from the clerk’s page or available through the search engine. Simply go to www.cityofreno.com/city_clerk/election .

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Posted inDennis Myers Memorial

Election

Photo By Dennis Myers A polling place on Lakeside Drive in Reno.

Expect another Nevada voting failure
Nevada is headed for another low voter turnout, if newly released figures are any indication. But a national voter turnout expert says Nevada’s turnout will probably rise in spite of the public’s indifference.

Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller reported this week that 872,632 Nevadans have registered to vote. With an estimated voter population of 1,660,000, that means only 53 percent of eligible Nevadans have registered. If that low registration rate holds through November, it virtually guarantees that less than half the state’s eligible voters will go to the polls.

In the 2000 Bush/Gore presidential election, Nevada had 1,390,000 eligible voters, 64.6 percent of them registered, and 67.8 percent of those who registered actually voted. That whittled Nevada’s turnout of eligible voters down to 43.8 percent. As a result, Nevada placed 48th in the nation in voter turnout, a rise from dead last four years earlier.

There are few hot state elections to draw people to the polls this year. None of the state executive offices such as governor and secretary of state are on the ballot, Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s GOP opponent Richard Ziser is not yet showing signs of being able to seriously contest the race, and most congressional races are fairly sedate or downright comatose.

However, a close race between George Bush and John Kerry could increase turnout, as the race between Al Gore and Bush did four years ago. In fact, the populace is so enraged that it’s likely to fuel turnout, according to Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, in Washington, D.C.

Gans says get-out-the-vote efforts have only a marginal effect on turnout. “They do a little, but not a lot. The nature of this fall’s election is likely to boost [Nevada’s] turnout and everyone’s turnout. … The country is so polarized that we are likely to see more anger-driven voting than at any time since Vietnam.”

Gans says the sharp divisions in the electorate presents a paradox for those who hope for increased voter interest—it drives people to the polls, but they go there for an essentially unhealthy reason. In addition, it’s not the kind of factor that sustains higher turnout once the resentment has passed.

“The polarization isn’t healthy, and it won’t keep turnout up, but you’re always grateful for interest,” Gans says.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...