Nevada residents took to the polls Saturday on the first day of early voting in the Silver State’s upcoming presidential preference primary.
Democrats are choosing whether to elect President Joe Biden or another candidate to continue to the November general election.
For Republicans, it’s more complicated. Some Republicans are choosing to participate in the primary, even though no delegates will be awarded to the candidate — the state’s GOP delegates are awarded only through the caucuses.
Early voting centers across Clark County welcomed voters to participate in the election. As of 4:40 p.m., the Nellis Crossing Shopping Center reported 131 voters turned out for the first day of early voting, which runs until Feb. 2. The county-wide numbers for the first day of early voting are expected to be published after 11 p.m.
Russell Giles, a team leader working at the Nellis early voting location, said it was rocky at first, but things got better as the day went on. He found that some of the voters were confused.
“This is a very difficult process for them to understand with the Republican caucus going on,” Giles said. Once they alerted voters of the upcoming caucus, they were comfortable with it, Giles said.
Las Vegas residents Susie and Adriana Martinez decided to vote after getting off work. They got in and out within a few minutes. The sisters, who are Democrats, voted for Biden.
“I just feel like, I come from a union household,” Susie Martinez said. “This has been the one president that has been the most proactive for unions. He even walked a picket line with United Auto Workers. That, for me, speaks volumes.”
Friday evening, on the eve of the first day of early voting, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and Rep. Dina Titus kicked off both Biden’s campaign and early voting in the Silver State with Biden-Harris signs. Vice President Kamala Harris also held a campaign event Saturday encouraging people to vote.
Newsom has been campaigning in early states on behalf of the Democratic president, highlighting accomplishments of the Biden Administration, including the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the PACT Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Donna West, a Democratic organizer, said at the Friday event that the primary is a way to show enthusiasm about the Biden campaign.
“People really are worried about all of their rights and freedoms and their benefits,” West said.
While only the caucuses will provide delegates for the GOP, some Republicans are choosing to participate in both processes.
Las Vegas resident Tracie Britton, a Republican who attended Trump’s caucus rally Saturday, said she plans on participating in the primary and voting “none of the above” and then participating in person at the caucus.
“He’s the only man to have gotten into politics to actually, he kept his promises that he made to get in,” Britton said. She said she thinks he can stop illegal immigration and turn the economy around.
Paula Morningstar, a Las Vegas resident who also attended Saturday’s rally, plans to participate only in the caucus and not the primary.
“I just think it’s an exercise of futility. It really doesn’t serve a purpose,” she said.
She said the party could have done a better job of educating Republican voters about the caucuses. “They need to be in our faces,” Morningstar said.
“When the primary ballot came out, everyone was like, what is this, what is going on?” Morningstar said. “The GOP as a whole needs to get their messaging a lot stronger.”