Why the wait? Washoe County responds to reports of polling issues, delays on Election Day

voting machines

The 2018 Midterm Election has had the best turnout for a Midterm Election since 2006, marking a significant moment that deserves to be celebrated -- but, for some voters, this experience was a double-edged sword.

Here's how Nevada -- and Washoe County -- fared overall, by the numbers:

  • Nevada had a record number of voters during this year's Midterm Election, with 62% percent of registered voters across the state casting their ballot
  • Washoe County saw one of the highest turnouts, with over 70% of active voters participating
  • According to the Nevada Secretary of State, over 64,000 people came out to vote in Washoe County on Election Day
  • Overall, 188,000 Washoe County residents voted in this 2018 Midterm Election. That is 20% higher than the 2014 Midterm Election

This increase in voters, while a good problem to have, lengthened wait times at polling locations across Nevada on Election Day.

One location in particular, Cold Springs Middle School, was the last polling place open in Washoe County on Election Day. Poll workers stayed three hours after the polls closed to ensure everyone in line got a chance to vote.

News 4-Fox 11 received multiple calls and social media posts from viewers about the struggles they had voting at Cold Springs Middle School.

They said it was a crowded room, there were not enough poll workers, and voting machines weren't being used efficiently.


River Thompson, a voter from Cold Springs, says a poll worker 'ruined' her voting process. She claims that she asked the worker for help with her ballot, but in the process, the worker submitted her ballot without her permission.

"They shouldn't touch the computers at all to submit your vote whatsoever," said Thompson. "Nobody should touch your voting station until you're done with it."

The Washoe County Registrar of Voters, Deanna Spikula, says she did not expect such a large turnout for this Midterm Election.

The Registrar's office is looking to open more polling locations, add more machines, and improve technology for the 2020 elections.

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