Tens of thousands of still uncounted ballots could reverse current Republican leads
A woman carrying what appears to be a mailed ballot in an envelope, presumably to place in a drop box, on Election Day at the Desert Breeze Community Center in Clark County. (Photo: Jeniffer Solis)
59,600 – that’s how many ballots were placed in drop boxes in Clark County on Election Day, officials announced Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, county officials said nearly 15,000 mail-in ballots had been dropped off by voters prior to Election Day, and another nearly 13,000 had been delivered by the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday.
USPS delivered more than 12,700 ballots on Wednesday.
As Nevada’s largest and bluest county, Clark’s outstanding election results are the most eagerly anticipated. However, they are not the only county with uncounted ballots. Washoe County, the state’s other urban area, had at least 18,500 mail-in ballots in its queue for counting. Additionally, some rural counties are still processing ballots, according to media reports.
Taken together, all those uncounted ballots represent a substantial number that could potentially reverse the leads many top-of-ticket Republican candidates had at the end of counting on Election Day. For instance, after Washoe and Clark on Wednesday released results from some 35,000 newly counted ballots, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s lead over incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto was roughly 16,000 votes.
Beyond all the known ballots still being processed, election workers will have to contend with any additional mailed ballots, which can be legally counted as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 8 and received at the county by 5 p.m. Nov. 12.
Joe Gloria, the top election official for Clark County, told reporters he would not speculate on how many might come in.
“We don’t know what we’re going to receive through the mail,” he said. “There’s no way for me to tell.”
Gloria and other election officials have emphasized that the deadlines they care about are the ones set in Nevada statute – not those of media outlets anxious to call any of the state’s high-profile contests.
“We are working on it,” Washoe County interim registrar of voters Jaime Rodriguez told the Reno Gazette Journal. “Please be patient. It does take time. We don’t want to do it fast – we want to do it right.”
Gloria said his hundreds of election workers will be working through Veterans Day and the weekend to count votes and make the county’s statutory deadlines.
“There’s no holidays for us,” he added. “We will be working the holiday and the weekend.”
Counties also must conduct signature cures, by which people whose signatures on ballot envelopes don’t match signatures on file with the county will be notified. Voters have until Nov. 14 to cure their ballot.
More than 143,000 ballots were cast in-person in Clark County on Election Day. All of those votes have been counted, except for 5,555 provisional ballots, Gloria said. Provisional ballots are those cast at polling places by people whose names might not be on voter rolls or whose eligibility is otherwise in question. Those voters have a 5 p.m. deadline on Friday, Nov. 11 to provide the county with their required identification.
Gloria is scheduled to brief the media again at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. He said the Registrar of Voters office will be providing updates daily. That is a repeat of the practice his office adopted in 2020, the first year of widespread mail-in voting in Nevada.
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