My voting experience, 2018

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

By Maramis

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

Well, it’s all over but the outcomes as I write this. Perhaps for some, the election results in Pahrump might not seem too important — compared to Las Vegas, for example, or the state — but they’re very important to those of us who live here and made it a point to vote.
When one votes for members of one’s own community to fill those important slots, one does more than crossing one’s fingers and hoping for the best. One spends a great deal of time in learning about the issues and how the candidates feel about them and would vote on them during their term ahead. And we have that wonderful opportunity, as voters, in a more or less free country, to vote for those candidates of our choice.
Way prior to today, Election Day, all those small, medium, and large glossy political campaign postcards had been showing up, mostly accusing their opponents of not only not being worthy of your vote, but being guilty of such things as turning their back on Nevada workers, wanting to raise property taxes, taking away health care coverage, and refusing health care for pre-existing conditions, seeing that most of the tax benefits will go to big corporations and the wealthy, and on and on. Those postcards did not show a pretty picture of most of the candidates.
I have been collecting the postcards — saving them all — and I have almost 100; my daughter may have thrown some out though since there were several duplicates. And while the messages on them may have offered up some information, mostly it seemed that they were about why their opponents were absolutely not even fit to be “dogcatcher.” Is it possible that we are not only “allowing” (in this free country of ours) but encouraging unfit candidates to run for office? Of course, we do not have a list of qualifications that they must all live up to (because there isn’t any), yet somehow it apparently is so easy to see all the shortcomings and faults in the candidates once the campaigns are underway.
If there are only three qualifications in order to be president of the United States (must be a citizen, must have resided in the country for at least 14 years, and must be at least 35 years old), that leaves an awful lot of leeway for who could be eligible. Yet the position of dogcatcher, more accurately called an animal control officer these
days, actually requires some education and knowledge of the position in most cases.
According to the information that came up when I Googled the requirements to be an animal control officer:
Information from the NACA shows that most entry-level animal control officer positions entail a minimum of a high school diploma. Some agencies require additional training and education, such as an undergraduate degree or certificate related to animal sciences, veterinary sciences, or law enforcement.
It can take you 1-2 years to become an animal cop. In most states, you will need a high school diploma and must complete a training program to prepare for the career. It can take you more than 3 years if you opt for a bachelor degree.
It’s always surprising what qualifications a person must have for a particular job or position. And yet it’s always more surprising how some people seem to get elected to jobs for which most of us can see they are not suited or really qualified for.
Some jobs require not only training and experience, but applicants must also then pass an exam to prove they know what they learned, and even get a license. Not so with politicians. It seems that for a politician, it’s usually OJT (on the job training), yet the pay and benefits are great!
But back to Election Day at the polls. It was heartening to see how many people had shown up to vote, at least during the time I was there. I was trying to observe as much as I could, meaning, of course, that I was hoping all was going according to the rules of the game.
Regarding the need for ID in order to be able to cast your vote, yes — it was required, but if you had received one of those sample vote booklets with your name and address printed on it, that counted as your identification for their purposes. If you did not have your booklet, they did ask to see your ID, such as your driving license. So
much for that.
I did not see any candidates inside the voting area, but there were several set up in their booths outside at the far end of the parking area. They may have been trying for a few more last-minute votes from the undecided, or even a few vote switchings, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened, but they also could have been there to thank those who voted for them. I perused the booths but missed seeing some of the candidates because they had stepped away for one reason or another, but the last booth that we had to pass by on the way to our car was that of Sheriff  Sharon Wehrly.
No matter if I had voted for her or not (I’m not giving that away, since I take my secret ballot seriously, and I have a comment to make about that later on), her booth was the friendliest and even the happiest-looking. In addition to being well-manned (there were actually three men sitting there behind the table), there were also several others, who were obviously friends, and one of them was grilling hot dogs and hamburgers off to the side and offered them to my daughter and me. There were also several well-behaved dogs, with one even doing a bit of its own campaigning by sporting a little doggie jacket with Sheriff Wehrly pins. They were still giving out the Sheriff Wehrly buttons and other campaign items, one of which was a frisbee. (Haven’t played with one of those in ages.) But the one thing I have to mention about my stop at her booth was that I went up to one of the men sitting behind the table, and just for my own edification, asked him the main reason he was voting for Sheriff Wehrly. His answer: She’s my mother!
I didn’t get to see Tony DeMao, the sheriff’s competition, since he wasn’t there when I passed by, so I have no anecdotes or little story of any kind about him.
This is the first time that I’ve ever actually met most of the local candidates, and I’m glad I did. You’d be surprised what a difference it makes when you get to actually talk to the candidates and hear what they have to say.
Back to the actual voting experience. As I glanced around at all the touch screens, I would be able to see who the voters were choosing, if I cared to focus in on any of them. The touch screens were not angled, so as to offer even a smidgen of privacy, but I guess that’s one of the “oh well!” things in life these days. Still, the directions on those touch screens were a bit confusing, and the woman next to me asked if she could change her mind on her vote, but didn’t know how.
She also asked if she could vote for Hof, since he was still on the ballot even though he had passed away a couple of weeks ago.
But all in all, except for the wait, which was a good thing — meaning a good turnout of voters — the experience went well; the staff, whether paid or volunteer, was friendly and helpful, and my daughter even told me that I didn’t cause too much trouble!
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at

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