Although few voters showed up for the Silver State’s presidential preference primary here, those who did were passionate about their voting choices.
SPRING VALLEY, Nev.–A woman who suffers from cancer, people in wheelchairs, and from diverse ethnic groups expressed one common belief on Tuesday: They consider voting an essential American right.
Although voter turnout was reportedly fairly low statewide, voters who spoke to The Epoch Times at a polling site here said they felt it was important to come out in the atypically rainy, chilly, and gloomy weather in this desert town.
At the Desert Breeze Community Center outside Las Vegas, only 325 people had cast ballots as of 6:20 p.m. local time, 40 minutes before polls were set to close.
Yet this site was one of the busiest in Clark County, online records showed. Fewer than 15,000 people had cast ballots in a county that is home to about 2.3 million residents.
None of the dozen voters who spoke to a reporter at the polling site expressed confusion over the unusual primaries-and-caucuses scenario confronting them this week.
Democrats were voting in only a primary on Tuesday. But Republicans could cast ballots in the primary and then may also legally vote two days later in the caucuses, which requires a longer in-person time commitment.
The dueling primary and caucus setup for Republicans happened because the state GOP balked against a new state law mandating a primary election rather than their time-honored practice of meeting in person or caucusing.
Darryl Plumleigh, 68, said he informed himself about the voting process by reading news articles. But he declined to reveal for whom he voted.
Gladys Nova, a 53-year-old Filipina, told The Epoch Times she voted for Democrat President Joe Biden.
She made that choice, in part, to signify her displeasure with the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.
“Anybody but Trump,” she said, adding, “I just think he’s bad for democracy.”
She also said she voted for President Biden because she agrees with “a lot of the Democrat policies.”
A native of Canada who became a naturalized citizen, Ms. Nova said her first experience voting was in 2016. At that time, she didn’t have a party affiliation and was “looking for the best candidate.”
“I wanted universal healthcare,” she said. That desire swayed her toward voting Democrat since then.
Hanbing Wang, a 57-year-old naturalized citizen who originally came from China, said he voted for “None of These Candidates” because his preferred candidate, President Trump, was not on the primary ballot.
That’s because candidates had to choose whether to participate in the primary, which doesn’t count toward the Republican nomination at the GOP convention this summer.
President Trump opted to run in the caucus while his sole remaining significant contender, Nikki Haley, former United Nations ambassador, is the only major candidate listed on the Republican primary ballot.
Mr. Wang said he voted for “None of These Candidates,” which has long been offered to Nevada voters because it was his way of showing support for the former president rather than Ms. Haley.
Some Nevada Republicans told The Epoch Times they were rooting for “None” to get more votes than Ms. Haley because they resented her for ignoring their state and eschewing the caucus.
Mr. Wang said he became supportive of Republican policies in 1980 when he was 14 and still living in China. That’s partly why he supports President Trump.
Another reason: President Trump is a well-to-do businessman, which positions him to avoid being swayed by moneyed interests, Mr. Wang said.
People who claim President Trump is a “threat to democracy” are caving to “political correctness,” Mr. Wang said. Because English is not his first language, Mr. Wang used a translator device to help him find that phrase.
Mr. Wang’s face lit up as he described attending several rallies in support of President Trump.
Mr. Wang said he would have committed to go to a caucus and cast a ballot for President Trump on Thursday if he had been convinced that it was essential.
“If Donald Trump needs me, I go there,” Mr. Wang said. But because President Trump faces no significant opposition in the caucus, “he doesn’t need me this time,” Mr. Wang said.
But Mr. Wang pledged to vote for President Trump when it really counts—in November.
Joseph Camel, 36, who describes himself as half-black and half-Hispanic, said he voted for President Biden because “I want to save democracy.”
Mr. Camel said the top issues for him include “women’s rights” and specifically allowing women to get abortions legally. He also cares a lot about “voting rights and gun reform.”
When asked to respond to other voters’ concerns about President Biden’s older age and his competency to hold the presidency, Mr. Camel said he has a different perspective.
“I think the older you are, the more seasoned you are,” he said.
Mr. Camel also said he dislikes President Trump largely because “he’s all about power.”
He was convinced that President Trump’s challenge of then-candidate Joe Biden’s 2020 election win was a sign that he didn’t want to relinquish that “power and control.”
Mr. Camel said he was aware that some other minorities have been feeling that President Trump has been unfairly targeted, resulting in 91 criminal charges against him.
Some people were leaning toward President Trump because of that sentiment, Mr. Camel conceded. But Mr. Camel said he thinks that the $83-million judgment against President Trump in the E. Jean Carroll case has shifted those people away from the former president again.
He thinks those people now agree with his contention: It’s likely President Trump did something wrong.
Wendy Wiener, 72, wept as she told a reporter that she is quite ill with cancer but felt passionately about coming out to cast her vote for President Biden.
Asked why she voted that way, Ms. Wiener said, through tears, “I hate Donald Trump … he’s an (expletive).”
But 71-year-old Donald Dunlap, who walked with the aid of a caregiver, said he made the effort to get to the polls for a simple reason: It’s important to vote.
Mr. Dunlap said he cast a ballot for Ms. Haley because “I think she would make a good president.” He likes what he’s heard her say. He was unable to elaborate because a caregiver was helping him into a waiting van from a senior center.
But Mr. Dunlap did disclose that he has divided loyalties; he also intends to exercise his right to cast a vote in a Feb. 8 caucus for President Trump.
Asked why he wanted to vote for both Ms. Haley and President Trump, who have been firing barbs at each other, Mr. Dunlap said he views President Trump as his top choice. Ms. Haley, he said, would be a good backup.