WASHINGTON (AP) — Vote counting in Nevada’s closely watched races for the Senate could spread into the weekend – as it has done before and as officials have reminded everyone, it would this time too.
In fact, election officials in Clark (home to Las Vegas) and Washoe (home to Reno) counties, the state’s most populous, warned early on that it would still take days to process all the ballots. voting this year.
Here’s where things stand Friday night, with Congress scrutiny still in balance:
WHAT WE KNOW
—With more than 90% of the votes counted, former Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt barely led Democratic incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto by about a quarter of a percentage point in the Senate race.
— Tens of thousands of ballots are still to be counted, mostly from urban areas of the state — again, just as counting officials in Las Vegas and Reno had said.
—All Nevada voters receive mail-in ballots, but Saturday is the last day state law allows officials to accept them.
— Voters have until the end of the day on Monday to “settle” — or resolve office issues with — their mail-in ballots, allowing those to be added to the final tally. There were 9,600 ballots at the “cure” stage Friday in Clark County, home to three-quarters of the state’s population.
—Nevada wasn’t called into the 2020 presidential election until the Saturday after Election Day — the same day Pennsylvania (and therefore the presidency) was called for Joe Biden.
WHAT WAS NOT CALLED
— A Senate competition between Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto and former Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
Laxalt and Cortez Masto have been locked in a close race for weeks, with both hitting national party talking points hard: Laxalt blaming inflation and illegal immigration on Democratic policies, and Cortez Masto vowing to block directed attempts by the GOP to ban abortion nationwide and to fight for a path to permanent citizenship for immigrants who came to the country as children.
WHAT WE CALLED
—A close race for governors between Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak and GOP Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo went to the challenger, with The Associated Press calling him for Lombardo on Friday night.
The campaign has been costly and controversial, with the airwaves and internet awash in recent weeks with ads sponsored by candidates, their parties and political action committees aimed at amplifying their differences. The two candidates had predicted that they would win but the result of the race would not be known for several days.
—After more votes were released Friday night, the AP called three House races where Democratic incumbents had faced daunting challenges: In two swinging districts stretching from Las Vegas through suburbs into rural areas, second-term Rep. Susie Lee fended off Republican April Becker and third-term Rep. term Steven Horsford defeated Republican Samuel Peters.
In the wake of the redistricting, six-term Rep. Dina Titus was in the hot seat in the traditional Democratic stronghold encompassing the Las Vegas Strip after party strategists sacrificed territory in exchange for gains elsewhere. She survived against Mark Robertson, a retired Army colonel who was trying to become the first Republican to win that 1st District seat since 1998.
The victories bolstered Democrats’ waning odds of clinging on to control of the House, though Republicans remained on course to flip the House.
THE NEVADA WAY
A few things slowed Nevada’s vote tally in the recent election.
For one thing, Nevada dramatically expanded absentee voting in 2020, mailing a ballot to every registered voter. The state has passed legislation to do so in the next election as well.
That year, nearly 15% of Nevada’s votes weren’t reported until after election night — and it took the state three days to report 100% of the votes.
Second, Nevada has had problems with long lines at the close of the polls, although Nevadans have traditionally chosen to vote early. The state will not release the vote tally until all voters who were in line at the close of voting have cast their ballots.
Ballots postmarked on Election Day can be received until Saturday, and officials have until Thursday to complete the count and submit a report to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office, in accordance with state law.
This year, election officials in the two most populous counties, encompassing the population centers of Las Vegas and Reno, warned it would take days to process outstanding ballots.
The state does not have a mandatory recount law.
Mike Catalini can be reached at https://twitter.com/mikecatalini
See https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections. Follow AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm -elections
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