Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Civic Engagement and Voting: Elections

This guide shares resources and strategies for learning about socio political issues in order to vote or otherwise participate in civic discourse. It also details local resources for getting involved as well at UNLV and local events.


There are a variety of different elections citizens can vote in from Presidential, Congressional, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and State and local elections. Browse the resources below to learn more about how these elections work and how to get involved.

Photograph: Anne Martin and three unidentified women in an automobile campaigning for the U.S. Senate from UNLV Special Collections and Archives

Save the Date - 2020 Election Dates

Here are some dates to look out for this election season in Nevada. 

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • The deadline to register online to vote is Thursday, October 29, 2020.
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
  • The deadline to register in-person to vote is Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
  • The early voting period runs from Saturday, October 17, 2020, to Friday, October 30, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

You can also register and vote on Election Day in Nevada!

Don't live in Nevada? Check out Vote.Org! 

Vote.Org Absentee Ballot Request - This site will allow you to request an absentee ballot!

Vote.Org Voting Registration Deadlines - This site will allow you to check out the voting deadlines in your state!

RockTheVote.Org - Never miss an election by signing up for reminders from RockTheVote!

Election Seasons

Below is more information on when you are able to vote for the various members of the U.S. government

  • Presidential Elections
    • Presidential Elections determine who represents you in the office of President of the United States
    • We vote on the President of the United States every 4 years
  • Congressional Elections
    • Congressional Elections determine who represents your state in the United States Congress
    • We vote on congressional members every 2 years
  • State and Local Elections
    • These elections include voting for your state governor, city mayor, and other state representatives. 
    • State and Local elections can take place any year and at various times throughout the year

Nevada Representatives

Knowing who is elected into your local and state governments as well as your congressmen is also very important. Researching Nevada representatives is an easy way to be a more informed and engaged Nevadan. Check out these resources below to learn more about who represents you!

  • GovTrack - GovTrack is a website that more information about Nevada senators, district representatives, and congressional district information. GovTrack also has a feature that allows you to search your address to show you who your representatives are.
  • ACLU Nevada - ACLU Nevada has information about Nevada senators, district representatives, and states representatives. ACLU Nevada also provides information for all of the county governments in Nevada.
  • Nevada Legislature - The Nevada Legislative website has made a handy graphic with all of the contact information for Nevada representatives at all levels. Keep in on hand in case you ever need to reach out to your representatives!


Opened Voting versus Closed Voting

There are three types of voting periods: open, closed, and semi-closed. Below you can learn a bit more about each one!

Open Primaries - Open primaries mean that anyone who is registered to vote can cast their vote for any political candidate regardless of the platform the candidate is running on. For example, someone who is registered as a Republican is able to vote for a candidate that is running on a Democrat platform.

Closed Primaries - Closed primaries mean that that you can only vote for political candidates that are running on the platform of the party that you are registered with. For example, if you are a registered Republican, you will only be able to vote for the Republican candidate.

Semi-closed Primaries - Semi-closed primaries are a combination of the other two primaries. In a semi-closed primary, voters who are registered as Republicans or Democrats have to vote for candidates who are running on the platform of the party they are registered with as they would during a closed primary, but if you are registered as an unaffiliated or nonpartisan voter or an independent voter, you can vote for either party. 

State and Local Elections

USA.Gov - Unlike federal elections, state and local elections can take place in any year and may be held at various times throughout the year.  The page from USA.Gov has great information to learn more about congressional, state, and local elections for where you live!

NCSL.Org - There are many different types of state and local elections; a city may elect its mayor, there might be races for judges or local officials, or there might be statewide elections for governor or state legislature. Check out this page from the National Conference of State Legislature to learn more!

Clark County Elections Department - This is a great place to learn more about local Clark County elections, visit the Clark County Election Department.

Historical Election Results and Related Data - Contains historical election results and related data including official election results, early voter turnout summaries, and ballot questions.

U.S. Vote Foundation Election Dates and Deadlines - To find out when the next elections are in Nevada, check out this page from U.S. Vote Foundation. 

Congressional Elections

Congressional Elections- Congressional elections occur every two years and allow voters to choose one-third of senators and every member of the House of Representatives. Congressional elections use the popular vote to determine who has won.

U.S. House of Representatives- Members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve terms of two years. All 435 members get elected in every midterm and election year. The number of representatives each state gets is based on population. Each representative serves a specific congressional district.

U.S. Senate- Senators serve six-year terms. One-third of senators get elected during each midterm and each presidential election year. There are 100 U.S. senators, two from each state.  

Election Key Terms - This resource is a page from Khan Academy that will help you to learn more about Congressional elections and brush up on the associated vocabulary!

Presidential Elections

Presidential elections happen every four years and determines who will be President and Vice President. Elections are held every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

What is the Electoral College? - While citizens cast a vote for who they want for President, it is the Electoral College who decides who will be President. Visit this page to learn more about how the Electoral College works or watch the video below.

A majority of 270 electoral votes are needed to elect the President. Click on the map below to be taken to an interactive version that will allow you to create your own Electoral College votes forecast. The website also has interactive maps for Senate, House, Governor, and state elections and to take a quiz testing your electoral college knowledge.

Click the map to create your own at
© University of Nevada Las Vegas