This cycle, Nevada has some of the most dangerous election deniers in the country running for office, from Senate candidate Adam Laxalt to Secretary of State candidate Jim Marchant. On Election Night, these same Republicans who spread the Big Lie may try to use the same playbook, and spread misinformation about remaining ballots.
In reality, Nevada has an incredibly diligent process for counting ballots that could take several days to complete. The processing and counting of all ballots in a prescribed, methodical way is a key sign of a functioning democracy, and one that Nevada has done with care for countless election cycles. In 2020, the presidential race in Nevada was not called until Saturday, November 7th – nearly four days after the polls closed.
How Do Ballots Come In?
This is the first midterm under Nevada’s universal vote by mail election, which ensures every registered voter is mailed a ballot, unless they opt out. Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Saturday, November 12 in order to be counted. In 2020, Nevada shifted to a universal vote by mail system and voters – especially Democratic voters – have overwhelmingly been taking advantage of the convenience of voting by mail. While in-person Early Vote is coming to an end, the vote by mail period will continue on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and through Election Day. This is different from previous midterm cycles in Nevada.
How Will They Be Counted?
The two most populous counties in the state, Clark and Washoe, will release their results of votes cast before Election Day first, and then Election Day results. Due to the high volume of ballots, Clark County has traditionally counted ballots more slowly. If Clark counts slowly in comparison to the rest of the state as it has in the past, expect statewide returns to start red and shift blue.
Ballots cast by mail are being processed as they are received; ballots postmarked by Election Day will continue to arrive and be processed until all ballots are counted. This cycle, mail-in data has been reported in batches, and that is expected to continue to be the case through Election Day.
As the Associated Press noted yesterday, on Election Day, Nevada officials won’t release vote counts until all voters who were in line at poll close have cast their vote. In 2020, nearly 15% of the vote was not reported until after election night in 2020, and the entirety of the vote did not come in for over three days.
Curing Ballots Will Take Time
With mail-in voting becoming a predominant form of voting in Nevada, voters who choose to vote by mail have ample time to cure their ballots if errors are found. If a ballot has an error such as a mismatched or missing signature, each county sets that ballot aside and attempts to contact the voter by email, if possible, or by letter with instructions on how to cure their ballot. Voters can cure their ballots by phone, email or in person now through November 14 at 5:00pm.
In 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden won Nevada by more than 2 points but it took nearly 4 days after Election Day for him to be declared the winner. As everyone remembers, the 2020 election in Nevada was certified by Barbara Cegavske, the current Republican Secretary of State. This cycle, Nevada has some of the closest races in the country. Ballots may take several days to arrive and longer to count, so prepare to wait it out and trust the process.