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People vote during primary election day on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Photo by Jeff Scheid.

If you are thinking about not voting in Tuesday’s primary, think again. It could be your only opportunity to vote in several nonpartisan races, from county sheriff to Board of Regents.

In Nevada, nonpartisan races end after the primary election if a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote. The rule covers most county and state nonpartisan races, with a few exceptions; it does not apply to judges running for District Court, the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

That means in 2018, the Clark County sheriff’s race could be over after the primary, if one of the candidates obtains more than 50 percent of the vote. But the race for the open Supreme Court seat is guaranteed to continue to a general election in November, regardless of whether one candidate walks away with a majority of the vote on Tuesday.

Although the rule applies to most district-wide and state nonpartisan races, it does not apply to city races. Those rules are often governed by each city’s charter, according to Wayne Thorley, a deputy in the secretary of state’s office.

In Reno, for instance, where there is a crowded race for mayor, no winners will be decided Tuesday. The city’s charter requires the mayor and City Council members to be elected in a general election.

But there is another way in which some races could be decided in the primary. Although partisan races require a general election, it can end up being a formality if only two candidates from the same party file for the race. That’s what happened this year in the race for Clark County district attorney where two Democrats and no Republicans or independents are running. As a result, whoever wins the primary will be the only name for voters to choose on the November ballot.

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