Nevada voter turnout bucked national trend

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Updated: 11/27/2012 12:35 pm

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada bucked a national trend on Election Day when it posted the highest percentage increase in voter turnout in the country compared with the presidential contest four years ago, officials said Tuesday.

Voter turnout in the state was up 4.5 percent, while national turnout dropped below 2008 levels, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller said.

"Nevada ran again a very clean election," Miller told state Supreme Court justices, who were briefed on the election before certifying the results for statewide and legislative races.

Miller credited Nevada's two-week early voting period along with online registration availability for helping boost turnout. He said 619,381 votes were cast in person during early voting, accounting for 61 percent of the total.

When absentee ballots are added, overall early turnout was nearly 70 percent.

More than 1 million Nevadans cast ballots in the election, a number that marked a milestone in the Silver State. Turnout also set a record at 81 percent.

Nevada joined 11 other states when it offered online registration statewide for the first time, Miller said, noting that online registration negates possible complaints about groups destroying registration forms.

"It takes third-parties out of the loop," he said.

The election wasn't without allegations of fraud.

Miller said a multijurisdictional Election Integrity Task Force formed in 2008 conducted a couple dozen investigations into complaints of voting irregularities. One woman was arrested in Las Vegas for allegedly trying to vote twice, but Miller said otherwise the election went smoothly.

Polls officially closed at 8:22 p.m., delayed from the initial 7 p.m. deadline by long lines at polling locations in Washoe and Clark counties, Miller said. The last ballots from electronic voting machines were uploaded by 1:14 a.m. Nov. 7.

In comparison, voting in Florida dragged into the next day because of long lines, while in Arizona it took two weeks for all the ballots to be counted.

"Overall, I'm extremely proud of the election we ran," Miller said.

President Barack Obama carried the Silver State, 52.4 percent to 48.7 percent.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller retained the seat he was appointed to last year, defeating seven-term Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley by about 12,000 votes. Nearly 45,000 voters — or 4.5 percent — chose "none of these candidates," a unique ballot option for statewide races that is being challenged in the courts.

 

©2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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