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90% voter turnout

Lyon Co. canvassing board meets to certify election results

Photo by Deb Gau Besides reviewing the election totals, canvassing board members also needed to choose two precincts in Lyon County for an election equipment review next week. County Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg shuffled cards to select two precincts at random for the extra review

MARSHALL — Voter turnout in Lyon County was over 90% in this year’s general election, and set records for numbers of votes and the number of absentee ballots cast, Lyon County Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg said Thursday.

A total of 12,948 people voted in Lyon County on Nov. 3 — the most in over 30 years, Moberg said. A total of 7,750 absentee ballots were accepted, which is the highest number in the county’s history.

Moberg and members of the Lyon County canvassing board went over the results of last week’s election Thursday afternoon. Canvassing is the process that certifies the results of an election and declares the winning candidates. While the county canvassing board certifies the results of county elections, which this year included county commissioner and soil and water supervisor races, the results of state and federal races will be certified by the state canvassing board, Moberg said.

Canvassing board members reviewed and approved reports on the number of voters in the election, the numbers of registered voters in Lyon County, and the number of votes received by each candidate in the county.

A total of 14,327 people in Lyon County were registered to vote as of 7 a.m. on Nov. 3, and an additional 1,203 people registered on Election Day, Moberg said. A total of 12,948 people voted.

The county turnout for this year’s election was about 90.4% of voters registered by Nov. 3, Moberg said. The county typically sees higher voter turnouts in presidential election years, he said.

Moberg said he compared the Lyon County voter turnout and vote totals with results going back to 1988, and this year’s vote totals were the highest of all of them. With more voting precincts switching to mail ballots and people concerned about voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of absentee votes cast was at an all-time high in the county.

The county processed a total of 12 absentee ballots that were postmarked on or before Nov. 3, but arrived late, Moberg said. When an appeals court order moved up the date for absentee ballots to be returned, Moberg said the county Auditor/Treasurer’s Office worked to get the word out to voters about the new deadline.

“Hopefully it allowed everyone a chance to vote,” Moberg said. Whatever their political beliefs, Moberg said, “My job is to make sure people vote, period.”

The Lyon County canvassing board is usually made up of the county auditor, the district court clerk, two county commissioners and the mayor of the most populous city in the county. However, four county commissioners and Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes were all candidates in county or city races this year, there were some substitutions on Thursday. Moberg said he appointed two staff from the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office who live in Lyon County to serve on the canvassing board, and Byrnes appointed Marshall City Clerk Kyle Box.

In addition to canvassing the votes, board members also selected precincts for an election equipment review next week. On Nov. 19, the board will review the votes cast for U.S. President and U.S. Senate and Representative races from two randomly-chosen voting precincts. Moberg shuffled a deck of cards representing each of Lyon County’s 33 voting precincts, and the two cards that ended up being drawn were for Marshall’s Ward 3 and the city of Russell.

Moberg and Box said for the most part, Election Day went smoothly last week. Box said in the morning there were technical difficulties with the tablet computers being used for check-in at polling places in Marshall, but it didn’t interfere with the election.

“That’s why we have the paper rosters” of registered voters, Box said. “We didn’t have to turn any people away.”

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