Home>Articles>Washoe County Registrar Raises Mail-In Ballot Concerns For November Election

A voter casts a vote by mail ballot at the mailbox for the 2020 primary in Nevada. Reno, NV, Jun. 9, 2020. (Photo: Trevor Bexon/Shutterstock)

Washoe County Registrar Raises Mail-In Ballot Concerns For November Election

The expected move of the Reno mail processing operations to California is ‘going to be terrible for our elections’

By Megan Barth, February 27, 2024 12:25 pm

In an interview with the Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ), Washoe County interim registrar Cari-Ann Burgess admits she is highly concerned about mail-in ballots for the upcoming general election due to the expected move of the Reno mail processing operations to California. “It’s going to be terrible for our elections,” Burgess warned.

Washoe County interim registrar Cari-Ann Burgess (Photo: KTNV)

According to the report:

Washoe County’s registrar of voters will recommend against mailing ballots in future general elections if changes to Reno’s Vassar Street post office move forward as expected.

The plan – which is not final but is considered likely – would move mail-sorting operations from Reno to Sacramento. All Reno mail would first go to California, where it would get a Reno postmark and date stamp before coming back over the Sierra.

Voters will need to mail ballots at least seven days early to ensure they’re received by deadline, Burgess said. If snow is forecast, Burgess recommends hand-delivering ballots.

“To be honest with you, I wouldn’t even put it in the mail,” she said of a November election ballot. “I would drop it off at one of our vote centers.”

According to Nevada law, a mail ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and received by the Saturday after Election Day, four days later, to be counted.

According to Burgess, ballots received by the Washoe County register and processed by USPS in Reno for the Presidential Preference Primary took four to five days. With the likelihood of a snowy November in the Sierras, Burgess recommends skipping the mail altogether and using drop boxes at one of 25 locations in Washoe County or dropping a ballot at a voting center during the two-week period of early voting. On November 5, Election Day, ballots can be dropped off at 45-50 voting centers.

Burgess also revealed that she has only one person in the office to process election mail and has raised numerous concerns to Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, Nevada’s congressional leaders and state leaders from the Republican and Democratic parties.

“I’ve been raising a little bit of a stink about this,” she said of the plan to move mail processing from Reno to Sacramento. “Not only does it affect voting, but it also affects our entire community and that’s not good for anybody.”

Democratic leaders, Assm. Steve Yeager, AG Aaron Ford, SOS Cisco Aguilar and Treasurer Zach Conine hold a press conference at the NV state capitol, May 3, 2023 (Photo: Megan Barth for The Nevada Globe)

During a legislative special session held during the pandemic, the Democratic majority made sweeping changes to Nevada’s election laws without a single Republican vote. Former Democratic governor Steve Sisolak signed the partisan legislation that ushered in universal mail-in balloting and unlimited ballot harvesting.

Numerous pieces of legislation related to election integrity measures, introduced last legislative session by Governor Joe Lombardo and his Republican colleagues, were ignored and tabled by the Democratic majority.

At the time, Assembly leader Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) said that any election-related legislation proposed by the Governor or Republicans would be “dead on arrival.” SOS Aguilar added, “It is important to understand when you mess with a fundamental right, you better be very careful in what you are doing to limit your access to the ballot box.”

According to Burgess, a voter’s ballot may be “dead on arrival” if the move of mail-sorting operations from Reno to Sacramento is impacted by winter weather or personnel issues and may “mess with a fundamental right.”





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2 thoughts on “Washoe County Registrar Raises Mail-In Ballot Concerns For November Election

  1. just when you thought our sacred process of an election couldn’t get anymore screwed up the democrats come up with with another way for to make things worse.

  2. This is going from bad to worse. With no chain of custody, how can these votes be certified? This is all going to end up in the courts, delaying the results for God knows how long. This is not only corruption, it’s incompetence also.

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