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Local polls host several tight races
by Tribune Staff
Nov 07, 2012 | 2888 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On a night where the Presidential Election was decided before Washoe County could tally all of its votes, Sen. Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei waited in suspense for the state’s decision.

Heller held the edge in Washoe County with more than 93,000 votes to Shelley Berkley’s nearly 73,000, but Clark County backed Berkley by a margin of more than 60,000 votes. The support of all other counties leaned toward Heller, who won the majority poll by about 12,000 votes.

In the battle for the House of Representatives, Republican Mark Amodei won with 57 percent of the total vote and 52 percent of the Washoe County vote over Democrat Samuel Koepnick, who received nearly 42 percent of the vote in Washoe County. Amodei will join two Democratic congressional winners Dina Titus, Steven Horsford and Republican winner Joe Heck.

Washoe County’s votes for State Senate and Assembly leaders were evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Debbie Smith (Dem.) and Greg Brower (Rep.) won the State Senate races, and Brower by just 266 votes. Democratic candidates David Bobzien, Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Michael Sprinkle and Richard “Skip” Daly won their respective Assembly races as did Republican candidates Pat Hickey, Randy Kirner, Ira Hansen and Pete Livermore.

The Washoe County Commissioners will welcome two new Republican members as Marsha Berkbigler defeated Andrew Diss by gaining 53 percent of the vote, and Vaughn Hartung went unopposed.

Scott Freeman defeated Cal Dunlap for District Court Judge with 53 percent of the vote, which accumulated to a margin of about 10,000 votes. Freeman joined unopposed District Court Judge candidates Michael Cherry, Michael Douglas and Nancy Saitta.

On the education side of things, the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees had three spots up for grabs with only Ken Grein running for re-election. Grein lost to Howard Rosenberg by less than 3,000 votes and David Aiazzi edged Diane Nicolet by less than 300 votes. Lisa Ruggerio defeated Dale Richardson by about 7,000 votes to claim the final spot on the Board of Trustees.

The county also chose Dave Cook to represent District 2 on the State Board of Education over his opponent Donna Clontz by about 8,000 votes.

Secretary of State Ross Miller reported 241,459 active registered voters for the 2012 General Election in Washoe County. The county saw an unprecedented number of early voters with 111,189, totaling about 46 percent of the total vote. An additional 55,610 votes came in on Election Day which brought the county total to 187,250 and a 77.53 percent total turnout.

Nancy Leuenhagen, public information officer for Washoe County, said turnout for county elections is always higher when Presidential Elections are occurring. She said the high turnout rate always makes for a slower night once the polls close.

“I think what is most important for people to know is how long it takes to count when (the votes) come in,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “The process of counting is the same but more people always come out to vote during the Presidential Election. The numbers have to be reported to the Secretary of State before the county registrar can release them and, being an expansive county, it takes a while to drive the voting cartridges to the county complex.”

The 2012 General Election featured three additional ballot questions for Sparks voters concerning the state and the county. In State Question 1, regarding Nevada Legislature’s ability to hold a special legislative session, Washoe County voted “Yes” at about 52 percent, which was consistent with the rest of the state.

Washoe County showed about 81 percent support for Washoe County Question 1 concerning local governments requirement to provide immediate emergency response based on proximity. Washoe County Question 2 regarding public services being funded by an increase of the motor vehicle Government Services Tax was voted “No” by nearly 60 percent of voters.  

The county used 90 different polling locations and more than 500 poll workers made up of volunteers and county employees. Washoe County schools were not in session during the day as many of them were being used as polling locations. Though the students had the day off, administrators were still hard at work in Professional Development sessions.

“This was not a day off for (school) district personnel,” Victoria Campbell, public information officer for WCSD, said Tuesday. “Each principal does something different based on the programs and projects the school is involved in. Every department in the district, such as human resources and finance, had Professional Development programs (Tuesday), too.”
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