Localize Our Elections: Invest in Our Community, Not Outsiders
In a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting, a clear voice rang out from the public: Stop outsourcing our ballot printing to out-of-state vendors. The sentiment isn’t just about patriotism or pride. It’s about economics and accountability. By keeping these contracts within state lines, millions of dollars would be funneled back into our local economy. More importantly, it paves the way for local businesses to be held accountable by local citizens—a model that serves everyone.
According to a recent article in the RGJ, there seems to be some progress. The Board has considered two Nevada-based vendors to handle the sample ballots, as indicated in agenda item 13. This means, instead of hastily awarding the contract to an out-of-state California company, our voices may finally be reaching the ears of those in charge.
However, the victory is partial. If we take a look at item 14, it reveals a different narrative. The actual ballots to be distributed to Washoe voters have been assigned to Runbeck, an out-of-state entity with its huge share of controversies. Not surprisingly, Commissioner Andriola, who diverged from her Republican counterparts, supported this motion. Given her track record, most now question her commitment to the needs and concerns of Washoe voters and the local economy. In a fair election, she now has a zero percent chance of being elected in 2024.
What’s deeply concerning is the seemingly habitual procrastination in addressing these vital matters until they become pressing. It portrays them in a “do or die” light, thus limiting thoughtful deliberation and careful decision-making. It begs the question: Why aren’t we utilizing our capable local printers? After discussions with four Nevada-based companies, each readily equipped for the task, I found none were even aware of the opportunity to bid for the ballot printing job.
This oversight—or deliberate omission—speaks to a larger issue at hand. Our elections, a fundamental mechanism by which we express our voices, are being eroded. Outsourcing the printing of our ballots may seem like a mere logistical decision, but in reality, it’s a choice that distances us from our own election processes.
There is no defensible reason to overlook local resources, especially when they stand ready to serve. If our public servants were genuinely committed to harnessing local expertise and boosting our local economy, they’d have actively sought information on available local vendors. Their silence is telling. And once again, Commissioner Andriola is at the center of this decision.
It’s time for change. We must peacefully and persistently demand that our county’s commissioners consider quotes from additional in-state vendors. The process can be altered; we can still opt for local services for our upcoming elections and reinvest in our community.
Now is the moment to act. Let’s rally behind the cause of localizing our elections and ensuring that our county’s funds stay within our state. After all, public servants should serve the interests of the public, and it’s time they remembered that.
There are zero reasons why the 4 Nevada Vendors can not still be considered to print our ballots. We must peacefully demand it now!
Here are the previous posts on the ballot blunders for more context: