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Voters trickle in at area polling places

Polls open until 7 p.m. in five cities across Clark County

Municipal Voting

Leila Navidi

Indalecio Hernandez, left, gets some help from Margarita Recendiz during municipal election voting at John Fremont Middle School on St. Louis Avenue in Las Vegas Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

Updated Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 8:15 p.m.

Municipal Primary Election 2011

Carolyn Goodman takes a call from a supporter at her campaign headquarters Tuesday, April 5, 2011.  Launch slideshow »

On the Ballot

Sun Coverage

Voters turned out at polling places across the Las Vegas Valley for today's municipal primary election, with the race for Las Vegas mayor bringing the largest number of voters to the polls.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said he expected his pre-Election Day prediction of 18 to 20 percent turnout in the city to hold up.

"That seems reasonable," he said this afternoon.

As of 3:30 p.m., the city of Las Vegas had 12,691 people cast a ballot today. About 10 percent of the city's 222,000 registered voters cast an early ballot.

Countywide, officials said 18,924 voters had turned out through 3:30 p.m. In other cities, 3,305 voted in Henderson, 1,435 voted in North Las Vegas, 759 voted in Boulder City and 734 voted in Mesquite.

"Every polling place I visit, there's one or two or three people in at a time, but it's just kind of dribbling in, dribbling out," Lomax said.

Except in Sun City Summerlin. There, dozens of voters streamed in and out of a polling place as a handful of candidates campaigned outside.

"It has been shockingly busy," poll worker Keith Addison said. "We didn't expect it."

Another poll worker noted that turnout appeared to rival the turnout seen during the general election last November when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went head to head with Sharron Angle.

"This is a historically busy voting place," Addison said. Sun City residents "have really proven they want to come out and support their candidates."

Election officials said no voting problems had been reported across the county.

Voters valley-wide are casting ballots for city council members, mayors and judges.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 7 p.m. in the five cities in Clark County.

The most publicized race has been the crowded field for Las Vegas mayor, where Carolyn Goodman, wife of term-limited Mayor Oscar Goodman; county commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Larry Brown; City Councilman Steve Ross; and businessman Victor Chaltiel are among 18 candidates vying for the position.

Click to enlarge photo

Jimmy Emerson casts his vote in the municipal election at John Fremont Middle School on St. Louis Avenue in Las Vegas Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

Various polls have given Goodman a nod as the frontrunner. Many voters had a strong opinion about her, for better or for worse.

"Oscar Goodman was perfect for Las Vegas. He's an experienced lawyer and a big personality," senior Ara Calogero said after casting her ballot at the downtown Las Vegas Academy Lowden Theater. "But I don't think his wife should run. Why ride on his reputation?"

Calogero said she voted for Giunchigliani.

Voters had a more favorable opinion of Goodman in Sun City.

"She knows about being mayor because she has watched Oscar," supporter Nick D'Ambrosio said. "And if she has questions, she can ask him."

A dozen Sun City voters interviewed by the Sun were split between Goodman, Giunchigliani and Chaltiel.

The Chaltiel voters said they were impressed by his business credentials and believed he was the best candidate to create jobs.

Giunchigliani supporters cited her work in the community and political experience.

If a candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she is considered elected. Otherwise, the two top candidates will advance to a general election June 7.

Also on the ballot in Las Vegas are council seats in Wards 1, 3 and 5 as well as three municipal judgeships.

Henderson has three council seats up for grabs: Ward 1, 2 and 4. One municipal judgeship is also on the ballot. In North Las Vegas, voters will cast ballots in two city council races and one race for municipal court judge.

In Boulder City, in addition to the mayor, ballots will be cast for two city council seats. In Mesquite, the mayorship and three council seats appear on the ballot.

Voters turn out in Henderson

In Henderson’s Sun City Anthem community, voting was steady throughout the day, picking up slightly in the late afternoon, officials said. As of about 4:30 p.m., more than 730 voters had cast their ballots at the location, the most of the 12 polling places in Henderson.

Three candidates, Debra March, Gerri Schroder and John Simmons, held signs near the main driveway of the Sun City Center, making their final push for votes. Schroder and Simmons said they had been campaigning since 7 a.m. March was at the center about 9:30 a.m., she said.

“We’ve been hearing turnout is low,” March said. “We’re looking forward to the results tonight.”

Most of the voters in Anthem were seniors. Residents said they voted on a variety of issues, but jobs and education topped the list.

“My top priority is the school system,” said Elena Murphy, 64, who added that her daughters are teachers and her granddaughter is in public school. “It breaks my heart to see all the professors and teachers let go.”

Karie Openshaw, 34, was with her husband and three children when she voted for Mike Mayberry, a former police chief of Henderson.

“I think the police department needs support,” she said. “I’m all for bringing programs here, but now is not the time. We need to try to protect jobs.”

Ann Richardson, 68, said she voted for the incumbents, and Henderson Planning Commission chairman Sam Bateman for the Ward 4 seat being vacated by Councilman Steve Kirk, who is term-limited out.

“We need some young people with new ideas,” she said of her choice to vote for Bateman, who is 34. “I may be a senior, but I’m open to change.”

Marlene Weinstein, 68, said she cast her ballot last week during the early voting period. Her top issue was downtown redevelopment.

“I would like to see it improved like they said they would,” she said. “Let’s have it be like a little city with restaurants, make it a place to go instead of having to go to Las Vegas.”

For Weinstein, the low voter turnout was disconcerting, she said.

“It’s awful,” she said. “People need to care about who is elected. If you don’t vote, you better not complain.”

Find a full list of candidates here.

Boulder City residents stream to the polls

Control of Boulder City Hall was at stake Tuesday as voters selected the next mayor and two open city council seats.

Poll worker Rose Marie Iliano said there was a steady stream of voters at the polling station at the Boulder City Recreation Center.

Jim and Kathy Calhoun, a retired couple living in the city for six years, said they wanted to change the status quo in City Hall.

“It’s our way of making sure the government is working the way that we want,” Kathy Calhoun said. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice and no right to complain.”

Jim Calhoun, who said he voted for no incumbents on the ballot, added that they were “concerned about the direction the government is going. We hope to bring some balance to the council and change its direction.”

Other voters said they came out to support the incumbents. Kathleen West, a teacher at Boulder City High School, said she is impressed with the work Mayor Roger Tobler has done for the city and that earned him her vote.

West, whose husband is a Boulder City firefighter, said she thinks Tobler will bring fiscal responsibility to the city. She was also pleased with efforts to address the traffic problem on U.S. 93, after the opening of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge.

“I’m a social studies teacher, so I thought it’d be a bad example if I didn’t come out and participate in the democratic process,” West said. “I have a favorable view of City Hall. I think they’re honest people and, even with the financial troubles, they always have a smile on their face.”

At Martha P. King Elementary School, Paul and Laupe Brewton also voiced their satisfaction with Tobler’s leadership. Paul, 65, said he has been around Boulder City for more than 20 years and first met the mayor when he was working for his father at Home Hardware.

Boulder City is faring better than some other municipalities through the recession, Paul said, and that factored into his vote for Tobler.

“Everything seems to be good, better than most cities,” Paul said. “The city is quiet, clean, and the people are nice.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Robert Kalastro expressed his frustrations with the city as he exited the polling station at the elementary school.

A self-described 9/11 truther and Tea Party member, Kalastro said he didn’t vote for any incumbents because he lacks faith in the government.

He noted that, although Tobler is a board member of the Regional Transportation Commission, Boulder City seemed unprepared for the traffic influx after the bridge’s opening.

He called it “an abomination” and said that was the impetus for voting for a new mayor, although he declined to say if he selected Councilwoman Linda Strickland or local businessman Zachary Scott Inman.

“This country is so screwed up,” he said. “I’m ready for the revolution.”

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