• Gracie Gordon and Madeleine Chinery

Long Voting Lines and Lots of Young Voters on Election Day 2020 in Northern Nevada

Gracie Gordon and Madeleine Chinery went to several polling stations as voting was busy, socially distanced and mostly orderly.

Carly Sauvageau a graduate student at UNR who works at the Center for Basque Studies was in line this morning at Rancho San Rafael Park in northwest Reno, with many other young voters behind her. Wait times ranged from just a few minutes at local polling stations to over an hour.

Still Plenty of Voters after Record Early Voting

About 70 percent of registered voters in Washoe County voted early, according to data from the Washoe County Registrar of Voters, but that didn’t reduce high turnouts at November 3rd Voting Day polling centers across northern Nevada.

At Rancho San Rafael Park, there were observers, temperature checks and a full parking lot, with would be voters waiting in the shade of fall foliage.

“I don’t want to be one of those people who are complaining but didn’t do anything. At least if I voted I could feel confident that I helped out and contributed,” Cedric Coly, 22, a lacrosse player, UNR student and second time voter, said. He sported a bandanna type mask, while waiting giving necessary spacing to the person in front of him.

Some of the young voters we interviewed, anonymously on the left and Cedric Coly on the right.

Younger Voters Could Be Decisive if They Turn Out to Vote

“I am hoping my vote will, I guess, lessen the struggles that many of these minority groups must face. I just really don’t like [Republican President Donald] Trump,” an 18-year old first time voter said, at a supermarket polling center, not wanting to give her name, as she was indicating her voting preference for Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden.

In the 2016 elections, about 24 million young voters participated across the US, a turnout of just 50% for citizens aged 18 to 29. They supported the defeated Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton by 55% to 37% over Donald Trump, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civil Learning and Engagement.

Temperature checks were part of the COVID-19 protocol for this election taking place during a still surging pandemic. Polls in Nevada were still in the margin of error range for the presidential election.

A One-Man Protest & Long Lines at the Downtown Library

At the downtown Reno library, a man with a religious sign and megaphone rattling off anti-Democratic Party rhetoric was drowned out by motorists honking. Biden-Harris volunteers nearby were holding up a sign which read “Honk if you support Biden.”

“It’s important that people go out and vote for what they want,” Helen Robles, a 21-year-old University of Nevada, Reno student and a first-time voter said.

Reno resident Kanesha Dean came with her two kids to vote. “They are the future generation, and no one taught me the importance of voting, so I want to teach my children,” she said, smiling in the warm morning sun as she waited her turn to enter the library.

University of Nevada, Reno, junior Jacob Weckesser was voting for the first time, and came to the downtown library to drop off his mail-in ballot, another possibility on Voting Day. “I’m really excited to be making a difference in such a critical election,” Weckesser said.

Reporting by Gracie Gordon and Madeleine Chinery for the Reynolds Sandbox

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