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Secretary of State weighs in on atypical election results

RENO, Nev. -- The primary election had a few surprises for voters, including one race that won't go to the general election and another in which a non-person got the most votes.

The democratic primary for Governor and the Carson City Sheriff's race are drawing attention and raising questions about what these situations mean for democracy.

"I think it's always a surprise when 'none of the above' wins," Secretary of State Ross Miller said. "It's only won a handful of times in the state's history."

In this primary, 'none of these candidates' ranked first in the Democratic primary for Governor. That means second place moves on. So with 25-percent of the vote, Robert Goodman will be on the November ballot.

Miller said 'none' is a protest vote and cannot ever actually win. "In 1975, the Legislature saw fit to put this in place so voters would have an option to let the public know, and the candidates know, we don't like any of you."

Miller said he has never voted for 'none of these'. "Even though I may not be completely satisfied with the slate of candidates in front of me, I at least want to have a voice and a preference in who is ultimately elected."

In another unique race, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong is re-elected, without having to wait until November. In his district, if you have 50-percent plus one vote, you win. Furlong had more than 60-percent.

Miller said he thinks it is a good idea. "You don't want to waste a lot of resources on extra campaigns if somebody clearly has the support of the public."

If you are disappointed you cannot vote for Carson City Sheriff in November, Miller said you should have made your voice heard in the primary. "If you didn't vote, in my mind, you lose the right to complain."

There had been some confusion earlier today as to whether or not Sparks Mayor Geno Martini also won his race by the 50-percent plus one vote rule. Sparks spokesman Adam Mayberry said their mayor's race is not subject to that.

So, Mayor Martini and candidate Gene Newhall will be on the ballot in November.