What we know about the ballots left to be counted in Clark County, Nevada

Polling place equipment and materials are processed at the Clark County Election Department on November 5, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Clark County’s top voting administrator has an important message for an impatient nation: “Our goal is not to count fast.”

It’s accuracy.

The expected timeline for counting votes in Nevada will no doubt be frustrating for a country desperate to declare a victor in the contentious presidential election. Nevada is currently one of a handful of states where margins between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are dramatically close. As of Thursday, Biden led statewide by 11,439 votes — less than 1 percent of total votes. Biden had 604,251 votes to Trump’s 592,813.

The Nevada Secretary of State announced Thursday that approximately 190,150 ballots remain to be counted statewide, and that 90 percent of the ballots are in Clark County. Clark County is home to 70 percent of the state’s total population. It is also the bluest county and its remaining votes are largely expected to help Biden. As of Thursday, Biden led Trump by 8 percentage points in Clark County.

Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria in a press conference Thursday emphasized that counting mail ballots is a multistep process that takes time, but that “the bulk” of the more than 110,000 outstanding mail ballots should be counted by Saturday or Sunday.

Gloria put the number of outstanding mail ballots at 114,262. Approximately 51,000 of those ballots are expected to be processed Thursday and reported by the Nevada Secretary of State around 9 a.m. PST on Friday. The remaining 62,262 includes: 34,743 mail ballots that were hand delivered to dropboxes on Election Day, 4,208 ballots that were delivered by the United States Postal Service, and 24,311 mail ballots received prior to Election Day that had not yet been processed and counted.

In addition to those 63,262 mail ballots, Clark County also has approximately 60,000 provisional ballots to work through and 44,000 ballots with identification requirements. Provisional ballots are those that require some sort of voter information verification. They are checked to ensure the voter has not cast a ballot elsewhere.

Finally, ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 may be received and accepted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 — seven days after Election Day. Gloria and the Secretary of State’s office have said they cannot estimate with any degree of accuracy how many ballots might fall into this category.

Clark County is also in the process of addressing 2,100 ballots rejected for missing or mismatched signatures, a process known as ballot curing. In these cases, the voters are contacted directly and informed of the issue.

Nevada counties have until Nov. 12 to cure ballots.

Official results must be certified by Nov. 16.

These election procedures and dates are set in Nevada law.

Another Trump lawsuit

The Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party on Thursday announced their intent to file a federal lawsuit to stop the counting of votes in Nevada. They allege that at least 10,000 fraudulent ballots have been cast, though they offered no proof of widespread voter fraud. During the announcement, representatives of the lawsuit refused to answer questions or even state their names, with one quipping to journalists, “You’re here to take in information.”

The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits in Nevada related to election procedures. They have yet to emerge victorious.

The Trump campaign has also filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia — three other states where mail ballots in the process of being counted appear to be boosting Biden. They have not filed suit in Arizona, where the ballots currently being counted appear to favor Trump.

April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. April currently serves on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas pro chapter. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and three mutts.