To the polls: Nevada County votes, though turnout was lagging

A Nevada County voter sits down to fill out his ballot Tuesday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, while his son looks on.
Photo: Elias Funez

Linda Burr has been voting since given the legal right at the age of 18.

“I like to vote,” said Burr, who cast her ballot on Tuesday, election day, at the Eric Rood Administrative Center. “I always vote.”

Kimberly and Markus Moore were dropping their ballots at the same spot, not just for the “I Voted” sticker, but for what they called the satisfaction of casting their ballots and doing their part to create the society in which they want to live.

“I always take it very seriously that if you don’t vote, you shouldn’t get to complain about anything that happens,” Kimberly said. “People are really trying hard and we hope California does better.”

A voter drops off their mail-in ballot at the North San Juan Community Center polling location Tuesday.
Photo: Elias Funez

“There are a lot of women who died to give us this right (to vote),” said Markus. “It’s what makes our country better and great. We have the opportunity to change things. We can’t just complain about it. Go out and do something about it.”

Thousands of Nevada County residents, and many more across the state, cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election. Locally, the election is for races like clerk-recorder/registrar of voters, two seats on the Board of Supervisors and two on the Nevada City Council. Statewide, voters will select their choices for U.S. representatives, as well as their picks for governor and several others races.


Clerk-Recorder Gregory Diaz said Tuesday that voter turnout was low. As of 10:30 am. Tuesday, Diaz said about 16,000 of the ballots sent out to some 75,000 voters had been returned.

A Nevada County voter sits down to fill out her ballot Tuesday at the Gold Miners Inn vote center in Grass Valley.
Photo: Elias Funez

“It’s been very surprising in a lot of ways,” said Diaz. “I am surprised the turnout is so low. I have no idea why.”

Diaz added that there was a power outage about 7 minutes before polls opened and that the situation was remedied before opening time, impeding no one from casting a vote.

Diaz also said that by demographics, younger people are not voting in significant numbers.

However, plenty of local voters did come out on election day.

Signs placed along Highway 49 in North San Juan lead people toward the vote center set up for one day inside the North San Juan Community Center.
Photo: Elias Funez

The Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley hosted a vote center, where official Victory Gallicchio reported that the facility was not busy the past few days. It had since picked up.

“It was a little slow. Today has been nonstop,” Gallicchio said. “I think we are doing good. I heard the state was at 14% (reported) and we are at 15%, so we are sticking to our guns and voting. People are learning and asking questions and we have a federal observer here who goes to different stations.”

Lucy and Doug Campbell of Grass Valley dropped their ballots at Gold Miners Inn.

“It’s voting day,” said Doug. “We believe in the traditional way of voting, where people show up at a real polling place and make a ballot and it’s submitted, because election integrity is a big deal. It comes from being rooted in old school education. I guess our generation had a different experience and we value voting.”

Nevada County elections held its first ever “I voted” sticker contest in 2021, in which Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning’s Adam Lee won the contest. His design, featuring a bald eagle holding a flag, was mailed with the mail-in ballots or could be received at vote centers.
Photo: Elias Funez

“It’s the only thing you’ve got,” said Koa Young of Penn Valley, “the only voice you really have, to preserve freedom and the constitution.”

In the event of a close race, Diaz said: “The unofficial election night report is that when the margin has been over 100 votes, I have not seen those contests change, and I have been here since 2007. I have seen a contest flip, but (in general) they don’t.”

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union, a sister publication for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

The North San Juan Community Center is transformed into a vote center for Tuesday’s primary election.
Photo: Elias Funez


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