Oh no, only more than a million Nevadans have voted already!

A sign at the East Las Vegas Community Center directs early voters last month. (Photo: Jeniffer Solis)

“Is election stress disorder real?” asked a recent headline on the Mayo Clinic’s blog

Thank you Mayo Clinic but everybody already knows the answer to that.

Election Day is Tuesday, but about 1.1 million Nevadans have already cast ballots. That’s already more or less equal to the total number of Nevadans who cast a ballot in 2016.

lincy nearly voting
Nevada Early Voting Numbers, per Secretary of State’s office, retrieved Nov. 2. (Chart: The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West, UNLV.)

Among those million-plus voters, Democrats have a tidy edge, as illustrated in a graph put together by The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West.

Sure we might not know how those quarter-million or so Nevadans who have already voted and who are neither Republican nor Democrat can be expected to vote. Well, some of them belong to minor parties that exist out of frustration because Republicans are too liberal. We can guess how they’ll vote. And independents in Nevada can tend to lean GOP – especially in Nevada’s third congressional district. But that seems to be morphing of late.

And of course maybe there are oodles more shy Trump voters than shy Biden voters, and oodles of the former will flood the polling places tomorrow. That could happen. Conceivably.

But as long-time watcher of Nevada early-voting data and trends Jon Ralston put it on his Early Voting Blog Saturday, it “looks very tough for Trump here.”

It always has.

With the exception of one outlier in a small-response lightly regarded internet survey, Trump has not led Biden in a Nevada poll all year.

The nation’s expert-texperts, analysts, election dorks, and the media who love them have all but discarded Nevada as worth their analysis, and shifted their gaze to other shiny objects, like the battleground new kid, Arizona.

And perhaps the most trenchant data point indicating the outcome of the 2020 presidential race in Nevada remains the 2018 midterm election in Nevada. Nevada Democrats often can’t even be bothered to show up for a midterm election. During the midterm two years ago, they showed up in numbers large enough to clobber the Republicans.

The enthusiasm in 2018 wasn’t driven by Steve Sisolak’s platform (he was “for” education, if memory serves), or Jacky Rosen’s strategy to offend as few people as possible by hewing to poll-tested cookie-cutter positions. Nevada Democrats were driven to the polls in 2018 by the same thing driving this year’s eye-popping turnout: Trump.

After the hellmouth opened up and swallowed Everything Nice on Nov. 8, 2016, no amount of auspicious polling or early/mail vote statistics can be expected to ease Nevadans of their current anxiety over this year’s election. The stress has been heightened because Trump and his Nevada pals have launched multiple ominous efforts to take Nevada’s election away from Nevada and hand it over to Biff Kavanaugh and Serena Waterford.

Hell yeah election stress disorder is real.


Nevadans should take heart, part 1: Like their fellow Americans in so many battleground states – including some that are surprisingly competitive (hi Texas!) – Nevadans have turned out in droves to end the farce currently occupying the White House. Nice work, everyone.

Nevadans should take heart, part 2: All those expert-texperts and national media darlings who aren’t really paying attention to Nevada anymore? They’re looking at the aforementioned new kid across the river, but even more importantly at Florida, and especially Pennsylvania, for good reason.

In other words, if Trump manages by hook or by crook (the latter the more likely possibility) to eke out another victory in the horrible terrible no good very bad and also intellectually and morally indefensible Electoral College, it almost assuredly won’t be Nevada’s fault. It’ll be Pennsylvania’s! So that’s something.

When Election Day becomes election night stress levels may intensify. As polls close every talking head in the known cosmos will be on some magic lantern or other holding forth on What It All Means.

Spoiler: On election night, it all might mean jack-doodly squat.

Remember Nevada’s June primary? No votes were released until everyone had voted, and there were long lines, and it was, I dunno, past my normal bedtime anyway,  before we knew anything. And then we still had to wait several days before Dan Rodimer could declare victory and start regurgitating Trumpisms for a general election audience in earnest.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll know if Biden won or lost Nevada Tuesday night. More importantly, we might also know who won states with, you know, more than six Electoral College votes, including Florida, one of the few battlegrounds where evidently there’s a decent chance the outcome will be known election night. Biden is slightly favored to win Florida but I’ll believe it when I see it. If he does, and the Florida results are called Tuesday night, you can go to bed knowing the prospect of a Biden victory just got better looking.

Among the states that are not expecting to have definitive results on election night is Pennsylvania, the state all the aforementioned expert-texperts assume will be The Decider of this thing.

So to reiterate what virtually everyone (except Trump & Friends) has been saying for months, it may take days, or more, before we know who won the election.

More stress, amirite?

On the bright side (where I’m always looking), both on Tuesday and during what follows, one thing can provide angst-riddled Nevadans with some small comfort: At least we’re not Pennsylvanians.


Note: This column was revised to include the Lincy Institute’s updated early voting chart.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.