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2022 Election Results Live Blog: Laxalt concedes Senate race to Cortez Masto

The Nevada Independent Staff
The Nevada Independent Staff
Election 2022

11:35 a.m. on Nov. 15: Laxalt concedes Senate race to Cortez Masto

Almost three days after media outlets called the Nevada Senate race for incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, her Republican opponent Adam Laxalt took to Twitter to concede the race. 

In a lengthy statement posted early Tuesday morning, Laxalt quoted the Bible in saying “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

“I entered this arena for my family and those all over Nevada and America who believe our country is headed in the wrong direction,” he wrote. “This race and the 2022 election cycle didn’t go as we hoped, but I am proud of the race we ran.” 

Cortez Masto leads Laxalt by around 8,000 votes as of Tuesday, a margin that increased after several thousand mail ballots with signature issues were successfully cured ahead of the deadline to do so on Monday. Laxalt initially led the race after results were released on Election Day, but Cortez Masto eventually took the lead after several days of counting and processing mail ballots.

Though he said that Republicans need to “better adjust to our new election laws or we need to work to fix them” — an apparent reference to universal vote-by-mail — Laxalt also said he was “confident that any challenge of this election would not alter the ultimate outcome,” and that he called Cortez Masto on Tuesday to congratulate her. 

Laxalt — who had worked as a lawyer for a Washington, D.C.-based law firm ahead of this year’s election — said he would return to “private life and private practice.” 

Laxalt’s statement comes after former President Donald Trump has said the Nevada election, without evidence, was stolen from Laxalt. 

“Now they’re finding all sorts of Ballots in Clark County, Nevada.” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website last Friday. “They are pulling out all the stops to steal the Election from Adam Laxalt.” 

In the days after the 2020 presidential election, Laxalt was among the chief proponents of the former president’s election denialism in Nevada as the state campaign’s co-chair, where he promoted baseless theories that dead Nevadans had voted in that election. 

After launching his Senate bid in 2021, Laxalt openly said he would plan to file early legal challenges to results in the 2022 general election, in addition to laying the groundwork for additional election observers over alleged voter fraud concerns. 

However, late in the 2022 midterm cycle, Laxalt appeared to soften his position, acknowledging to the Las Vegas Review Journal last month that Joe Biden was the legitimately elected president. Separately, he also told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he would accept the results of the election.

Jacob Solis

3:45 p.m. on Nov. 14: Lombardo pushes message of unity in victory speech

Republican Governor-elect Joe Lombardo delivered a victory speech Monday afternoon at Rancho High School, his alma mater in Las Vegas, ending his campaign for governor where 17 months prior he first announced plans to run for the state’s highest office.

Lombardo said the event was hosted at his high school because he’d like to be known as the “education governor” — a message he hammered home on the campaign trail

“It's a win for parents who want to have a voice in their child's education; it's a win for families who want a safer community; and it's a win for small business owners,” Lombardo said about his victory. He also referenced a phone call with outgoing Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday, adding that the two will work together to complete a smooth transition.

In the roughly 14-minute speech, Lombardo also thanked his family, campaign staff and supporters for electing him governor. He laid out a laundry list of plans, saying his administration will expand school choice, make school safety a priority, fix “broken state agencies,” eliminate “soft-on-crime” policies and “get our economy back on track.”

In his address, Lombardo acknowledged that split-ticket voting handed wins to Democrats and Republicans in statewide offices, and that Democrats would maintain control of both houses in the Legislature. 

With the campaign season over, he said it’s vital for both sides of the aisle to come together.

“Now that the election is over, we must set aside our differences and come together as Nevadans to work toward a common goal to building a stronger economy and a healthier and safer Nevada,” Lombardo said. “No matter who you are, where you are from, or who you voted for, I am ready to listen to you, work for you, and earn your trust.”

Sean Golonka & Tabitha Mueller

10:55 a.m. on Nov. 13: In Las Vegas speech, Cortez Masto declares victory in Senate race

Flanked by the heads of more than a dozen major unions and organizing groups, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto declared victory in a Las Vegas speech early Sunday, a coda to media calls of the race in her favor over Republican challenger Adam Laxalt following vote count updates late Saturday. 

In roughly 12-minutes of remarks that thanked a bevy of different groups — from organized labor to her family to her campaign staff and consultants — Cortez Masto subtly acknowledged the narrow margin of her win, which stood at just under 0.7 percent as of Sunday morning. 

“We’ve known this was going to be a tough campaign,” Cortez Masto said. “But all of you are Nevadans, and I know what it takes to deliver for my home state. So when the national pundits said I couldn’t win, I knew Nevada would prove them wrong.” 

The senator — now elected to her second term after first succeeding longtime Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in 2016 — also cast her victory as a rejection by Nevada of “far-right” Republican candidates, despite the narrow margins in her own race and the victory of Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo. 

“Nevada has rejected the far-right politicians working to divide us,” she said. “We rejected their conspiracies, their attacks on our workers and their efforts to restrict our freedoms.”

Separately, Cortez Masto also pledged to block any attempts to create a federal abortion ban, echoing a key tenet of her campaign message.

 “So when Republicans try to force through a federal abortion ban, I’m going to stop them,” she said, though such attempts appear unlikely in the face of another Democratic Senate majority through the next two years. 

Laxalt has not yet publicly acknowledged the result of the race, last tweeting on Saturday morning that high Democratic margins in late-counted urban votes had “narrowed our victory window.”

— Jacob Solis

6:21 p.m. on Nov. 12: Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto defeats Adam Laxalt in key Senate contest

The Nevada Independent has called Nevada’s U.S. Senate race for incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who held on to her seat over Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. 

The win for Cortez Masto, first elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving for eight years as state attorney general, maintains Democratic control of the Senate after the party won close, competitive races in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Laxalt, who also previously served as the state attorney general, worked for several years in the private legal sector for a Washington, D.C.-based law firm following an unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2018. He quickly found the backing of both former President Donald Trump and the establishment wing of the Republican Party, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Hammered by Laxalt on economic issues and her support of an unpopular Biden White House, Cortez Masto campaigned in large part on a defense of abortion access in Congress, as well as criticism of Republican efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. 

4:53 p.m. on Nov. 11: Nevada voters approve Question 3, proposing open primaries, ranked-choice voting

A contentious proposal to overhaul the state’s election system through the establishment of open primary elections and ranked-choice voting in general elections is projected to pass with support from a majority of Nevada voters.

Despite strong opposition from the state’s top Democratic officials, including Gov. Steve Sisolak and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and the Nevada Republican Party, approval of Question 3 puts Nevada in position to potentially become the third state (after Maine and Alaska) to implement ranked-choice voting for statewide elections. 

But a hurdle remains: The same question must pass a second time in 2024 for the proposed changes to be made to the Nevada Constitution.

Question 3 has been among the most costly ballot campaigns in state history. Nevada Voters First, the in-state group supporting the measure, raised $19.5 million in contributions, largely from out of state. The group had poured those funds into digital and television ads, and will now look to 2024 to get the measure passed again.

Nevada Voters First, the in-state group backing Ballot Question 3, released a statement Friday evening saying its passage shows Nevadans’ desire to “address political extremism and polarization in our state.”

“Since starting this process, we have heard from voters all over the state that the current system tilts in favor of political insiders and puts parties over people,” said Mike Draper, the organization’s communications director, in a statement. “We look forward to an engaged discussion over the next two years leading up to the 2024 election and we are certain the energy and support for Question 3 will only continue to grow.”  

To learn more about Question 3, click here.

4:33 p.m. on Nov. 11: Democrat Zach Conine wins second term as treasurer over Republican Michele Fiore

The Nevada Independent is projecting that the treasurer’s race will be won by Democratic incumbent Zach Conine, defeating Republican candidate Michele Fiore. 

"I am humbled that Nevadans have asked me to continue serving as their State Treasurer," Conine said in a statement. "I intend on making them proud over these next four years."

Fiore conceded the race in an email sent to her supporters Saturday night, saying her race for the treasurer's seat "has come to an end."

"Even though we didn’t achieve the outcome we were hoping for, I remain committed to fighting for principled and proven leadership for Nevadans," she wrote.

The treasurer is responsible for investing the state's money, financing community assets and facilities, processing payments for public agencies and managing numerous scholarship programs.

Fiore, a Las Vegas city councilwoman, initially launched a campaign for governor last year but withdrew and switched races to challenge Conine. Fiore is a former state legislator and has represented Ward 6 on the Las Vegas City Council since 2017. 

Conine’s win comes after his campaign reserved a record amount of television ad time for the treasurer's race ahead of the election and filed several election complaints against Fiore, accusing her of violating campaign finance law by not refunding excess contributions. Fiore filed amended contributions and expense reports just days before Election Day.Fiore is also facing a campaign finance probe by the FBI, which raided her home last year.

Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine speaks during the Nevada Early Vote Rally in Las Vegas on Tuesday Nov. 1, 2022. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

4:30 p.m. on Nov. 11: Democrat Cisco Aguilar defeats election denier Jim Marchant in secretary of state race

The Nevada Independent is projecting that Democrat Cisco Aguilar has won the race for secretary of state, defeating Republican and former Assemblyman Jim Marchant. Aguilar will replace Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who was termed out after eight years in office. 

"This campaign was about defending democracy for all Nevadans and I'm humbled so many Nevadans put partisanship aside and stood up for free and fair elections," Aguilar said in a statement posted on Twitter. "We must continue to reject extremism and those who threaten our democracy."

The secretary of state’s office deals chiefly with election administration and business licensing for the state, though the 2022 campaign was consumed almost entirely by election issues after Republican efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential results. 

Marchant, who also lost a bid for Congressional District 4 in 2020, has been an outspoken critic of Nevada’s election administration and a vocal proponent of election conspiracy theories. He has asserted, without evidence, that elections have not counted “for decades,” and led an effort across rural Nevada to end the use of electronic voting machines in favor of hand-counted paper ballots. 

Aguilar’s campaign raised and spent record dollar amounts to win the seat, casting the secretary of state’s race as existential to American democratic norms and referring to Marchant repeatedly as “dangerous” because of his views on elections.

4:21 p.m. on Nov. 11: Republican Joe Lombardo wins governor’s race, ousting Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak

The Nevada Independent is projecting the race for governor will be won by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican endorsed by former President Donald Trump. He defeated Gov. Steve Sisolak, unseating the first Democrat to win the office since 1994.

Lombardo, who previously won two terms as the top law enforcement officer in the state's most populous county, campaigned on a platform of improving the economy, education and public safety, and has promised to serve as a check on one-party rule in Carson City. For the past four years, Democrats have controlled the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature.

Sisolak, a former Clark County Commission chairman, exits the governor’s office after having navigated the state through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 Nevadans, and a corresponding recession that saw Nevada’s unemployment rate skyrocket to a record high before recovering.

Sisolak conceded on Friday evening, saying it "appears we will fall a percentage point or so short of winning."

"Obviously that is not the outcome I want, but I believe in our election system, in democracy and honoring the will of Nevada voters," he said in a statement. "So whether you voted for me or Sheriff Lombardo, it is important that we now come together to continue moving the state forward. That is why I reached out to the Sheriff to wish him success."

On the campaign trail, Sisolak cast Lombardo as a threat to roll back abortion access following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. But in Nevada, a state law that protects abortion access up to 24 weeks can only be overturned by a vote of the people.

As polls consistently showed the economy as a top issue for Nevada voters, Lombardo hammered Sisolak over high inflation and his handling of the pandemic.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo speaks during the Stronger Nevada PAC election results event at Red Rock Casino and Resort in Las Vegas on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)

12:35 p.m on Nov. 11.: Clark County Registrar: 50,000 ballots still need to be counted

Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria told reporters Friday that 50,030 mail ballots were still left to be counted — 15,900 that will be tabulated on Friday, and another 34,130 being inspected by the department’s counting board that will be counted as they become ready. 

Gloria said some, but not all, of those ballots could be counted Friday. The count is expected to near completion on Saturday, the statutory deadline for mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be picked up by the postal service.  

According to new numbers Friday, the number of mail ballots being picked up by the USPS has fallen sharply over the last several days. Though roughly 12,700 ballots were collected by the post office on Wednesday in Clark County, just over 600 were collected on Thursday, and only 104 were collected on Friday. 

Gloria said that, though one more day remains before the mail pickup deadline, he expects the number of outstanding mail ballots not yet collected by the USPS to be small. 

Additional votes may be reported from nearly 9,700 mail ballots in the signature curing process, as well as more than 5,500 provisional ballots that still must be validated with assistance from the secretary of state’s office before they can be added to the counts. But not every single one of those roughly 15,200 ballots is guaranteed to be added to the count.

The deadline for signature curing — which requires voters to confirm that they voted that ballot — is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14. If a ballot with a signature issue, such as a missing signature or a signature that does not match the one on record, is not cured by the deadline, it will not be counted.

Gloria also told reporters that 4,910 Clark County voters had already cured their ballots out of 14,569 total mail ballots requiring curing, or roughly 34 percent. He added that he expects to finish counting all mail ballots, including those in need of curing, by Tuesday.

For the provisional ballots, county officials are waiting to validate them based on information from the secretary of state’s office. State officials use data from each county to check whether someone may have voted multiple times in different counties. According to Clark County, provisional ballots “will be counted only after verification of [a voter’s] registration data and that [the voter] did not cast multiple ballots in the same election.”

— Jacob Solis & Sean Golonka

12:11 p.m. on Nov. 11: Sisolak trails Lombardo, faces difficult path to catch up given remaining mail ballots

As Nevada continues to tally up mail and drop-off ballots, the tight race between incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and his opponent, Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, is increasingly trending toward Lombardo.

Though Sisolak leads in Washoe and Clark counties, Lombardo maintains the statewide lead by about 28,500 votes — a narrowing margin, but not nearly as close as Nevada’s U.S. Senate race where Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto finds herself fewer than 9,000 votes behind her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt.

Despite some narrowing of the margins since results first began to trickle in late Tuesday, rural areas continue to carry Lombardo in the governor’s race. With the number of remaining ballots hovering around 80,000 to 90,000, Sisolak would need to carry upward of 66 percent of them to overcome the gap between him and his opponent.

No Democratic candidate running statewide has won Washoe and Clark County but lost the state since at least 2014, when Democrat Ross Miller carried those urban counties but ultimately lost to Laxalt in the attorney general’s race that year.

Neither campaign has made a public statement since Tuesday night, when Lombardo and Sisolak urged patience as election officials complete the task of counting ballots. The Lombardo and Sisolak campaigns also have not responded on the record to a request for comment as of Friday morning.

“As we've always said, the Battle Born state is a battleground state,” Sisolak said at the time. “And we knew this would go down to the wire.”

Sisolak added, however, that he believed that when everything is over and done, “the votes will be on our side.”

Lombardo also emphasized the need for patience, but he said he also was feeling confident about the outcome of the election.

“I anticipate you’re going to be calling me Governor Lombardo in a couple of days,” he said on Tuesday.

— Tabitha Mueller

11:20 a.m. on Nov. 11: As vote count narrows in Senate race, both candidates claim the advantage

Three days after Election Day, incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto trails Republican challenger Adam Laxalt by just 9,000 votes in the race for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat — a lead for Laxalt that has dwindled by thousands of votes as outstanding mail ballots have been counted. 

Both candidates have claimed a mathematical edge based off of the tens of thousands of votes left to count that would grant them victory, without outright claiming the win. 

Laxalt broke the post-Election Day silence first on Wednesday, tweeting that Cortez Masto “could win 63% of [outstanding Clark mail votes] and she would still lose.”

Yesterday, before vote tallies in Clark and Washoe were released, Laxalt tweeted again that Cortez Masto would need upwards of 63 percent to catch his lead, and that “We remain very confident.” 

The Laxalt campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest vote counts Friday morning. But speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Thursday night, Laxalt continued to express optimism. 

“We think that these Election Day ballots could break even, we could stand to lose them by 15-20 points and we would still hold,” Laxalt said. 

Cortez Masto has not spoken publicly on the vote count since a late-night tweet on Election Day. However, her campaign’s communications director, Josh Marcus Blank, tweeted Wednesday that after looking at the numbers, “we're on track to win.”

In a statement, the Cortez Masto campaign told The Nevada Independent on Friday morning: “We continue to feel confident given the votes outstanding.” 

Since initial results were posted late Tuesday and early Wednesday, Cortez Masto has steadily eroded Laxalt’s lead, which was as high as 23,000 votes on the morning after Election Day. That shift has come not only as the incumbent Democrat has won mail tallies in Clark County, but also in Washoe, where she won Thursday’s vote count of 18,400 mail votes by 61 percent to 36 percent. 

Those latest numbers have opened Cortez Masto’s Washoe lead, now 50 to 47, and put increased pressure on Laxalt to score high margins in late-counted rural returns. 

Nevada’s Senate race has grown increasingly critical to both national parties over the last few days, with results in some combination of Nevada, Arizona and Georgia set to decide partisan control of the Senate. Should Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly maintain his current lead in Arizona —  Democrats could secure outright control of the body with a win in Nevada. 

Though media outlets have not yet called Arizona in Kelly’s favor, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman called the race for Kelly late Thursday. However, should Laxalt hold out in Nevada, Republicans could flip control with a win in next month’s Georgia run-off — even if Kelly wins Arizona.  

But as the counts have closed, Republicans have increasingly raised the specter — without evidence — of voter fraud in Nevada. That includes former President Donald Trump, who said on his platform Truth Social on Thursday that “Clark County, Nevada, has a corrupt voting system (be careful Adam!).” 

And on Friday, Politico reported that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested, without evidence, on a phone call with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) that Laxalt could not lose the Senate race but for fraud. 

“There is no mathematical way Laxalt loses,” Graham said, according to Politico. “If he does, then it’s a lie.”

Laxalt has not suggested voter fraud in the days following Election Day, and a Laxalt spokesperson told the Reno Gazette-Journal last month that “He has said he’ll accept the results of this election.”

However, Laxalt was also central to the Trump campaign’s challenges to Nevada’s election results in 2020 as the campaign’s Nevada co-chair, and early in the 2022 contest signaled that he would create a litigation roadmap and election observer strategy over voter fraud concerns. 

On Tucker Carlson’s show Thursday, Laxalt also again criticized the state’s adoption of universal mail-in voting, calling for an end to the policy in addition to the elimination of ballot “harvesting” and the creation of voter I.D. laws. 

“This system is very, very flawed,” Laxalt said. “And by the way, everyone knows it. I think Republicans and Democrats think this is just an astonishing process.”

— Jacob Solis

9:40 a.m. on Nov. 11: Cortez Masto closing gap on Laxalt, while Sisolak lags further behind against Lombardo

County election officials across the state reported results for nearly 36,000 more ballots on Thursday, with most batches of new results coming from mail ballots that heavily favored Democratic candidates and shrunk Republican-held leads in the state’s top races.

But as Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto continues to garner a larger margin of support from newly reported mail-in votes than Democratic Gov. Sisolak, the competitive and nationally watched race for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat has grown considerably closer than the gubernatorial race.

As of Friday morning, Cortez Masto trails Republican former Attorney General Adam Laxalt by about 9,000 votes, while Sisolak trails Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo by more than 28,000. 

Across the state, there are still tens of thousands of mail ballots, concentrated primarily in urban Clark and Washoe counties, yet to be tabulated and reported, which are likely to bring significantly more votes for the Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. Though the leads reported so far have largely stemmed from a strong Republican advantage in Election Day turnout, Democratic voters have been more likely to submit ballots through the mail and drop boxes, which are the sources of the ballots still being counted.

In recent batches of mail ballots reported in Clark and Washoe counties — which are collectively home to nearly 90 percent of the state’s voters — Cortez Masto has received, on average, 2 to 3 percentage points more of the votes than Sisolak in their respective races.

Out of more than 620,000 ballots tabulated and reported in Democratic-leaning Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and Henderson, Cortez Masto has received about 9,000 more votes than Sisolak — 320,000 votes to 311,000 votes.

On the Republican side, a similar split-vote dynamic means Laxalt is underperforming in the statewide vote relative to Lombardo. Out of more than 920,000 ballots reported statewide, Laxalt has received nearly 6,000 fewer votes than Lombardo.

The split-ticket differences are even larger in other statewide races with winners already projected. In the controller’s race, where Republican candidate Andy Matthews has been projected to win, Matthews leads Democratic candidate Ellen Spiegel by more than 51,000 votes. In the race for attorney general, where Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford has been projected to win re-election, Ford leads Republican candidate Sigal Chattah by about 55,000 votes.

Winners have not been projected in the top-of-ticket races, as county election officials continue counting ballots, including thousands of ballots that require signature curing in order to be counted and mail ballots that arrive through Saturday. Under state law, ballots postmarked by Election Day can be counted as long as they arrive by Saturday.

7:45 p.m.: Republican Stavros Anthony wins lieutenant governor race over incumbent Lisa Cano Burkhead

The Nevada Independent is projecting Republican Stavros Anthony will win the lieutenant governor race, triumphing over Democratic incumbent Lisa Cano Burkhead.

Cano Burkhead, a former school principal, was appointed to the role by Gov. Steve Sisolak in December. Former Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall resigned from the post last year for a position with the Biden administration. 

The lieutenant governor is next in the line of succession if the governor is unable to perform his or her duties. It is a part-time role with relatively few major responsibilities in normal times, including the largely symbolic role of presiding over the state Senate and a chair role on the state’s tourism commission. 

Anthony has been a Las Vegas city councilman for more than a decade and lost a 2020 race for Clark County commissioner to Democratic candidate Ross Miller by a few dozen votes, for which he called on an ultimately unsuccessful recount. 

Cano Burkhead outraised Anthony in the most recent finance campaign period. 

7:45 p.m.: Republican Andy Matthews defeats Democrat Ellen Spiegel in race for state controller

The Nevada Independent is projecting that the race for state controller will be won by Republican Andy Matthews, defeating his Democratic opponent, Ellen Spiegel.

The controller position is a less well-known position that functions as a chief fiscal officer of the state. It carries a four-year term and is responsible for processing and recording the state's financial transactions, registering vendors, settling claims against the state and collecting debts owed to the state. 

Matthews, a first-term Assemblyman, previously headed the conservative think tank Nevada Policy Research Institute, which has advocated for increased school choice, lower taxes and more transparency around public sector compensation. He focused his campaign on cutting government spending and increasing transparency on the state budget.

Spiegel focused her campaign on adding “quality control measures” to improve the timeliness and accuracy of transactions processed by the office.

During the third quarter of fundraising, Spiegel and Matthews reported raising similar amounts, but Matthews far outspent Spiegel throughout the course of the campaign. He was the only candidate in the race to run ads on television. 

7:17 p.m.: Democratic Rep. Susie Lee wins re-election over April Becker in 3rd Congressional District

The Nevada Independent is projecting the Congressional District 3 race will be won by Democratic Rep. Susie Lee, who defeated Republican April Becker to secure a third consecutive term in the House of Representatives.

Victory for Lee, a “Frontline Democrat” considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the House, marks a significant accomplishment for Democrats aiming to maintain control of Congress, despite widespread expectations that Republicans are likely to gain the upper hand in the House.

"Voters across Nevada’s Third Congressional District chose unity and respect over division and extremism," Lee said in a statement. "They want—and deserve—a leader who will put their interests first, tackle our toughest issues, and deliver."

Becker, a real estate attorney and first-time congressional candidate who received significant backing from congressional Republicans, focused her campaign on hammering Lee over inflation.

But Lee, whose campaign messaging centered largely on her efforts to protect abortion access, likely benefitted from last year’s redistricting, which bolstered the share of registered Democrats in the swing district.

Still, District 3 — which stretches from the southern tip of Nevada through the western part of Clark County and the Las Vegas Valley, encompassing some of the city’s wealthiest suburbs and the Spring Valley area — also has the smallest Democratic advantage in voter registration of the state’s three Democrat-held congressional districts based primarily in Southern Nevada.

6:41 p.m. on Nov. 10: Democratic Rep. Dina Titus survives challenge from Republican Mark Robertson

The Nevada Independent is projecting incumbent Democrat Rep. Dina Titus will win re-election to Congressional District 1, defeating Republican Mark Robertson.

This election cycle, Titus faced her most serious challenge since winning the district for the first time in 2012, after the state’s redistricting process eroded the district’s longtime Democratic advantage. District 1 went from a safe blue district, with more than 147,000 registered Democrats and fewer than 66,000 registered Republicans, to recent voter registration statistics showing 158,344 active registered Democrats and 114,186 Republicans

It was considered a “toss up” race by the Cook Political Report

"We always knew this would be a tough race and I am so grateful to all who volunteered, contributed, and dedicated their time to this race," Titus said in an emailed statement on Thursday evening.

Given her decade-long career in Congress, Titus wields seniority within the Democratic House caucus, which may bolster her influence on policy priorities such as infrastructure, economic recovery, climate change and the environment.

During the three week pre-election fundraising period, Titus outraised and outspent her Republican opponent. She raised more than $405,000, while Robertson raised nearly $146,000, and she also spent nearly double during that time frame. 

In June, Robertson, a former U.S. Army Colonel, won a crowded Republican primary that featured eight candidates to take on Titus. 

The district has not been represented by a Republican in more than two decades — when then-Rep. John Ensign held the seat between 1995 to 1999.

6:41 p.m. on Nov. 10: Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford defeats Trump-aligned Sam Peters in District 4 race

The Nevada Independent is projecting the Congressional District 4 race will be won by Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford. He won re-election over Republican Sam Peters, maintaining a hold over the most Democratic-leaning district in Nevada.

"Nevada's Fourth District proves it once again: the winning path for Democrats is to build a working class, multi-racial, multi-generational coalition," Horsford said in a statement.

Peters, a veteran and insurance firm owner who previously lost in the Republican primary for District 4 in 2020, had aligned himself closely with the Trump wing of the Republican Party. He had been an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, and had raised doubts that Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.

Though Nevada’s Democratic incumbents largely fought in “toss-up” races up and down the ballot, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rated the District 4 contest as the only “lean Democrat” House district in the state.

Peters, unlike Republican candidates for Districts 1 and 3, received little support from outside spending groups and national Republicans looking to flip Nevada’s Democrat-held House seats.

District 4 was created in 2011 and has only been won by a Republican once since then, during the 2014 “red wave” year. It has massive geographic boundaries, stretching through parts of northwest Las Vegas, the city of North Las Vegas and the entire northern half of Clark County into rural, central Nevada, including Nye, Lincoln, Esmeralda and Mineral counties and portions of Lyon County. Following redistricting, the area is home to more Democratic voters than any other Nevada district.

12:35p.m. on Nov. 10: Nevada voters pass Question 1, approve Equal Rights Amendment

The Nevada Independent is projecting approval of Question 1 to amend the Nevada Constitution to guarantee equal rights regardless “of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.”

Approval at the ballot box marks a final step for ratifying a version of the so-called Equal Rights Amendment into the state Constitution, after it passed out of both houses of the Legislature in 2019 and 2021.

The now-passed Question 1 is separate from a long-running effort to enshrine an Equal Rights Amendment into the United States Constitution. Following congressional approval in the early 1970s as part of a push for gender equality, the amendment fell short of ratification needed by three-fourths of states by a 1982 deadline.

To learn more about Question 1, click here.

Following Question 2 passage, minimum wage set at flat rate of $12 per hour, starting in 2024

The Nevada Independent is projecting approval of Question 2, which means starting July 1, 2024, the state’s minimum wage will be set at $12 per hour in the Nevada Constitution. That means state lawmakers would not be able to lower the rate through legislation.

The approved measure also eliminates a provision of state law allowing employers that offer qualifying health insurance to pay $1 less per hour than the minimum wage rate for those that do not offer qualifying health insurance. That means the minimum wage will be set at a flat rate of $12 per hour, regardless of health insurance offered by an employer.

To learn more about Question 2, click here.

12:02 p.m. on Nov. 10: Clark County blasts Trump’s claims about its voting system as ‘misinformed’

Former President Donald Trump declared on his social media platform that Clark County has a “corrupt voting system,” triggering a strongly worded response from county officials.

Trump’s post on Truth Social, which also cast criticism on Arizona’s election system, said “be careful Adam!,” a message aimed at Nevada’s Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, who’s locked in a tight race with Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Laxalt served as the Trump campaign’s Nevada co-chair in 2020 and was endorsed by the former president.

The county’s roughly 200-word statement rejects Trump’s assertion and reiterates the laws governing the vote-counting process in Nevada.

“We have heard his outrageous claims, but he is obviously still misinformed about the law and our election processes that ensure the integrity of elections in Clark County,” county officials wrote in a statement. “First, we could not speed up the process even if we wanted to. Nevada state law requires us to accept and process all mail ballots received before 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, if they are postmarked on or before Election Day.”

The statement goes on to describe laws governing signature verification and provisional ballots before concluding with this final note:

“All of our election systems are certified by the state and federal governments for use in the State of Nevada, and there are several state required audits done before, during, and after each election, which further ensure the reliability and integrity of the election.”

— Jackie Valley

11:46 a.m. on Nov. 10: Democratic candidates make gains in latest reported results, as more than 110,000 ballots remain uncounted

The latest vote counts in Nevada’s top-of-the-ticket races for U.S. Senate and governor show Democratic candidates cutting down on leads held by their Republican challengers, as Democrats have secured more votes in newly reported mail ballot totals from urban Clark and Washoe counties.

The change in reported results has whittled Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s lead over Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto to fewer than 16,000 votes, while Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo’s lead over Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak has dropped to about 34,000 votes.

On Wednesday afternoon and evening, several Nevada counties reported updated results accounting for thousands of mail ballots, including more than 14,000 in Clark County and 20,000 in Washoe County. Three rural counties — Lyon, Nye and Douglas — also reported more votes collectively totaling about 11,000 ballots.

In the batches of mail ballots from urban centers, Democratic candidates garnered significantly more votes than their Republican opponents.

In other races for statewide offices:

  • The Nevada Independent has projected that Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford will win re-election over Republican candidate Sigal Chattah. Ford leads by nearly 46,000 votes statewide after Wednesday’s updated vote totals.
  • In the race for secretary of state, Republican candidate Jim Marchant leads Democratic candidate Cisco Aguilar by nearly 2,000 votes.
  • In the race for lieutenant governor, Republican candidate Stavros Anthony leads Democratic incumbent Lisa Cano Burkhead by more than 53,000 votes.
  • In the race for treasurer, Republican candidate Michele Fiore leads Democratic incumbent Zach Conine by more than 3,000 votes.
  • In the race for controller, Republican candidate Andy Matthews leads Democratic candidate Ellen Spiegel by about 55,000 votes.

As of Thursday morning, Clark County has approximately 70,000 mail ballots for which vote counts have not yet been reported, and Washoe County has more than 40,000 such ballots.

Several significantly less populated, Republican-heavy rural counties are also still counting small batches of mail ballots. That includes 2,000 mail ballots in Carson City, and more than 6,000 in Douglas County.

Across the state, counties are continuing to accept, process and count mail ballots that are being delivered through Saturday. Under Nevada law, mail ballots postmarked by Election Day and delivered up to four days after the election are to be counted.

— Sean Golonka

10:22 a.m. on Nov. 10: Democratic AG Aaron Ford wins re-election over Republican challenger Sigal Chattah

The Nevada Independent has projected Democratic incumbent Aaron Ford will win the race for attorney general. He defeated Republican Sigal Chattah, a Las Vegas-based civil and criminal defense attorney.

Ford, a former state Senate majority leader and the first African American to hold a statewide constitutional office in Nevada, won on a platform focused on justice, including limiting gun violence and providing support to local law enforcement.

The race had notably been marked by controversies, including a leaked text message from Chattah, in which she said Ford “should be hanging from a (expletive) crane.” 

In a post on Twitter on Thursday morning, Chattah thanked her supporters and said “The best is yet to come.” 

The attorney general defends state agencies in court and serves as the state’s top law enforcement officer and prosecutor, but candidates for the office often take partisan positions. Ford has used his platform to push back against restrictions on abortion seen elsewhere in the country.

Editor’s Note: As in past elections, The Nevada Independent will call the results of major statewide and federal races based on vote results and only after a determination is made that there is no plausible scenario that would allow a trailing candidate to close the gap.

10:08 p.m. on Nov. 8: Republican Rep. Mark Amodei cruises to re-election victory

The Nevada Independent has called the Congressional District 2 race for Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, who defeated educator and Indigenous issues advocate Elizabeth Mercedes Krause, earning his seventh term representing the state in the nation’s capital.  

Amodei previously served 14 years combined in the Legislature, both in the Assembly and the Senate. He was also president pro tempore of the state Senate from 2003 to 2008. 

In the 2020 general election, Amodei defeated Democratic candidate Patricia Ackerman by 15 points. 

As of October, District 2 had 130,839 registered active Democrats and 193,034 Republicans. 

Krause was the first Indigenous woman to run for Congress in Nevada. She sought to represent the many tribes located within District 2 while prioritizing the economy and education equity. 

Amodei consistently outraised Krause, giving him a much stronger financial edge during the campaign. In the June primary, Krause rose above the crowded Democratic primary, but did not receive enough support to beat the incumbent. 

— Jannelle Calderon

8:56 p.m. on Nov. 8: Clark County judge denies Cortez Masto’s lawsuit to reopen several polling locations with long lines

A Clark County judge denied a last-minute lawsuit from incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to keep certain polls in Clark County open until 9 p.m.

The suit, citing delays, long lines and printing issues occuring at at least eight Clark County voting sites on Election Day, called on the court to extend the voting window past the 7 p.m. close in order to afford voters the entire 12-hour window mandated by state law. 

As polls were set to close, media reports showed long lines at several high-traffic voting locations statewide, including some in Clark County. The complaint pointed to issues with inoperative printers that contributed to wait times of more than one hour at certain polling stations, suggesting in part that replacing printers could take up to two hours and that “many voters, discouraged at the inability to cast ballots, have left voting centers without voting, effectively disenfranchising them.”

In a statement released shortly before the ruling, Cortez Masto’s campaign spokesperson, Josh Marcus Blank, said: “Every vote must count, and delays caused by long lines and paper delays should not prevent Nevadans from casting their ballots.” 

But in an emergency hearing late Tuesday, District Court Judge Gloria Sturman found that such issues did not necessarily deny any voters their right to vote, adding that any voters who were in line at 7 p.m. were still allowed to vote, as long as they remained in line. In some cases, including at Galleria Mall in Henderson, voters remained in line and voted past 7 p.m.

“I'm not hearing that we know of it, just even anecdotally, that we know of any person or persons who were denied the right to vote,” Sturman said.

Sturman said she could not think of a remedy for the long lines because none of the polling locations referenced in the complaint were not open for the required 12 hours as laid out in state law. She said she did not think reopening those polling locations would be “appropriate” relief for the issues cited in the case.

“We can't reopen polling places once they're closed, logistically or even legally, I think,” Sturman said.

— Sean Golonka & Jacob Solis

7:35 p.m. on Nov. 8: Clark and Washoe counties will not count some mail ballots until after Election Day, delaying results

In the state’s two most populous counties, Clark and Washoe, mail ballots dropped off or delivered on Election Day will not be counted until Wednesday or later, county election officials told The Nevada Independent.

The delays in counting — tied to a lack of election personnel in Clark County and a high volume of mail and drop-off ballots received in Washoe County — will prolong the delivery of results in key races, as the two counties are home to roughly 89 percent of the state’s voters and likely thousands of ballots submitted on Election Day. 

The delays also likely mean early returns may not reflect the final outcomes. Though Republican voters have overwhelmed Democratic voters in terms of in-person turnout on Election Day, Democrats have generally been more likely to vote by mail since the widespread expansion of the voting method in 2020. Democratic-leaning groups, including the politically powerful Culinary Union, have also encouraged voters to vote via mail ballots and drop them at voting centers.

Washoe County Registrar Jamie Rodriguez speaks to the media on election night on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

In Washoe County, a spokesperson said that any ballots dropped off tonight will be checked in but not tabulated. In a Tuesday evening media briefing, interim Washoe County Registrar Jamie Rodriguez said the county had received a little over 6,000 ballots in the mail today, and another 10,000 turned in via ballot drop box. 

Rodriguez added that officials had processed all signatures verifications that were received yesterday, but still had remaining signature verifications that needed to take place from today.

As of 7 p.m., none of the polls in the county were closed because people were still in line at all of the county’s voting locations. Rodriguez attributed the delays to a number of different factors, including same-day voter registration in areas with younger populations, such as UNR.

Officials cautioned that it takes a great deal of time to process mail ballots, and whatever results are posted tonight will not include a "large number of ballots" that still need to be counted.

“Understand that whatever results are posted tonight, again, if there are close races, there definitely are still a large number of votes still to be counted,” she said.

As of Sunday, mail-in ballots accounted for 60 percent of the turnout in Washoe County, with in-person voting making up the remaining 40 percent. Officials said they will have the full breakdown later this evening. 

Mail ballots postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 8) and received by election officials within the next four days are counted toward election results. The last day for mail ballots to be received and counted by county election officials is Saturday, Nov. 12.  Voters have until Monday, Nov. 14, to address any issues with signatures on their mail-in ballots. 

All counting must be completed 10 days after the election, or by Nov. 18.

— Tabitha Mueller & Sean Golonka

Editor’s Note: As in past elections, The Nevada Independent will call the results of major statewide and federal races based on vote results and only after a determination is made that there is no scenario that would allow a trailing candidate to narrow the gap. Given uncertainty about the amount of mail ballots received by county election officials, race calls may be delayed into later in the week.

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at the Sahara West Library in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8: Election Day voters share what drew them to the polls

By the time polls opened Tuesday morning across the state, about 672,000 Nevadans had already cast their ballots, but thousands more waited until Election Day out of tradition, convenience or election integrity concerns.

“I felt much more confident in person,” said Maryann Decker, a Republican who dropped off her ballot Tuesday at the Sparks Library.

Decker said she voted Republican down the ticket because she opposes abortion and has concerns about the economy. The voting process was smooth and easy, Decker said, noting that she was encouraged by the turnout at her polling location.

“We have to have a voice and speak out,” she said. “Otherwise, we just can’t sit back and complain.”

About a mile away, at Kate Smith Elementary School in Sparks, 77-year-old voter Sandi Heying said despite the cold and snowy weather in Northern Nevada, voting is too important to skip.

Heying said she did her research and then mostly voted for Democrats, in part because she doesn’t trust Republicans in the post-Trump era.

“They’re for the big money and not the regular people that they’re supposed to be representing,” she said.

Down in Las Vegas, voters waited about an hour to cast their ballots at the Sahara West Library during the lunch hour. In Clark County, however, turnout varied widely between voting centers, according to the election department’s real-time voting log

As of 4:30 p.m., only 220 voters had cast a ballot at Jim Bridger Middle School in North Las Vegas, while nearly 2,000 people had voted at the Silverado Ranch Plaza in Las Vegas.

Up in rural Minden, Carol and Dale Darrough cast their votes at the Douglas County Courthouse. They were there to support Republican candidates, though Carol joked that the GOP politician she’s most excited about doesn’t even live here — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

It wasn’t just the elections for statewide or federal offices that drew them to the polls, though. Carol Darrough, who’s retired, said she was paying special attention to the Douglas County Commission races because of what seems like constant development in their rural community.

“I was a little hesitant on the county commissioners because I think that they have been rubber-stamping just about anything that comes across,” she said. “I understand they said all of this has been pre-approved, but it's like every time we turn around, there's houses going up everywhere. It’s disappointing.”

On the western edge of Washoe County at Verdi Elementary School, Chris Lungren, a 27-year-old veteran and registered nonpartisan, said this was the first time he had cast a ballot on Election Day because his previous military service required him to vote by mail. After the last presidential election, Lungren said he has less faith in elections.

“That was a big change for me, made me not trust the system as much as I probably should. And that's a big problem,” Lungren said.

Susan Lewis, a 58-year-old small business owner from Verdi, said she was most excited to vote for Joe Lombardo for governor and Adam Laxalt for senator.

“I'm really hoping that this election will bring about a change,” Lewis said.

At McQueen High School in West Reno, the line to vote snaked down the hallway into the gym where people — including several first-time voters — were casting their ballots.

Bodie Cohen, an 18-year-old McQueen High School student who registered as a Democrat for his first time voting, said he thought Question 1, which would adopt the Equal Rights Amendment into the Nevada Constitution, was the most important measure on the ballot.

“I think Question 1 is important … getting rid of discrimination just because I feel that it's still a big problem in our world, even though we try to fix it every year,” Cohen said.

Another first-time voter, 19-year-old nonpartisan Carli Ashton, who works at Keva Juice, said she was excited to participate in Election Day, giving her the motivation to brave the snowy weather to cast her ballot in person at McQueen High School. Ashton said abortion rights was a top issue for her, and she was interested in the first two ballot measures.

“On the first one, I felt strongly about protecting the rights of everyone as it stated on the ballot,” Ashton said. “[And] the second one … raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour. I also thought that was important for a lot of people.”

Ethan Lippareali, a 24-year-old Republican and Reno resident, said he came out to vote because he thinks the country is at an inflection point — and that includes Nevada politics.

“Nevada is kind of at a balance point, so things can either go one way or the other …  that made me really want to come out and vote,” Lippareali said.

Though many are watching the Senate and gubernatorial race, 31-year-old Alison Berreman from Sparks said she was not planning to mark anyone in the top-ticket races. She was focused on local elections, specifically school board races.

“Those big national issues, it feels like it's all just like talking points and I don't trust any of it,” Berreman said. “I feel like whatever party is in power, funds the police and funds deportations and funds locking up kids and I don't feel like they represent me.”

A foster parent, Berrreman said she wants people on the school board who care about social emotional well-being and are not politicizing education.

Other voters, such as 27-year-old Alex Tolley, took an interest in Nevada’s ballot questions. He voted “yes” on Question 3, which would create open primaries and implement ranked-choice voting if it passes this year and again in the 2024 general election.

“If we actually moved to a ranked-choice system, that would be better by far than even just open primaries,” he said. “But open primaries is at least a good first step.”

At the Sparks Library, the line to vote snaked through tall stacks of books as voters waited for more than an hour to cast their ballots. Jasmine Clancy, 23, voted during her lunch break. She said it is difficult to take time off to vote, especially when the line is long.

But inflation drove her to the polls, she said, adding that she mainly voted for Republicans.

“It's really hard to pay rent even when you're above minimum wage,” Clancy said. “So I can't imagine being paid minimum wage and having to pay rent and bills.”

Allan Cruet, a poll manager at the Reno Town Mall voting center, said a steady stream of voters had been lining up all day. He estimated it was about an hour wait, but said the voting process had gone smoothly despite the lines.

“It has been great. These people have been absolutely wonderful,” he said. “It has been very easy going. It’s just constant.”

Election Day marked a difference from the early vote period, when Cruet said poll workers were encountering people questioning the integrity of electronic voting machines and lamenting the mail-in voting option.

“We were dealing with a lot of weirdness,” he said.

Participating in the election as a poll worker has given Gayle Anderson, 69, an up-close view of the democratic process. She’s a ballot runner, meaning she picks up mail ballots from voting locations and delivers them to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters.

“So many people think the system is rigged, and … we get the satisfaction of knowing it’s not,” she said.

— Joey Lovato, Tim Lenard, Carly Sauvageau and Tabitha Mueller

4:03 p.m. on Nov. 8: Northern Nevada state offices close early due to weather

Citing worsening weather and road conditions, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office announced Tuesday afternoon that it would close all state executive branch offices in Northern Nevada at 3:30 p.m.

The closures, which include offices in Carson City, Washoe, Storey, Lyon and Douglas counties, do not apply to essential public safety or correction personnel, or for any employees whose “job duties involve administering elections and/or elections security or support.”

According to the National Weather Service Reno, snow showers will continue through the evening in the region, with “snow covered and icy roads remaining a concern through Wednesday morning.”

“The safety and well-being of the State’s employees are of the utmost concern,” a spokesperson for the governor said in a release.

— Riley Snyder

Signate outside a polling location in Carson City on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022 (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

1:21 p.m. on Nov. 8: Anti-transgender political ads attacking Cortez Masto continue through Election Day

A small but steady drumbeat of anti-transgender mail and radio ads from several conservative groups have flooded battleground states in recent weeks, and in Nevada, they have continued to be published through Election Day.

Some of the anti-transgender ads have come from registered nonprofits America First Legal and Citizens for Sanity, which do not name specific candidates on the ballot but attack President Joe Biden and “progressive leaders” for pushing children to take hormones and undergo surgery. But other groups, including Mitch McConnell-aligned One Nation and American Principles Project PAC, a super PAC that bills itself as the country’s “top defender of the family,” are using the same messaging to attack Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

In a text message sent to some Nevada voters on Election Day morning, a video paid for by American Principles Project PAC claims that “Democrats like Catherine Cortez Masto pushed dangerous transgender drugs and surgeries on kids,” citing Cortez Masto’s support for the Equality Act in February 2021. 

That measure, which Cortez Masto has co-sponsored multiple times, defines and includes sex, sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation. It would prohibit discrimination based on those categories in areas of public accommodations and facilities, education and federal funding. The bill makes no mention of gender-affirming care or surgeries for children.

The ad also highlights the story of a transgender teenager who died by suicide.

“Transgenderism is killing kids. Cortez Masto is part of the problem,” the ad’s narrator states.

American Principles Project’s anti-transgender ads in Nevada have not been previously reported. The group recently ran similar ads in Arizona and several other battleground states, NBC News reported last week, and has reported spending nearly $285,000 on the Nevada U.S. Senate race, including, most recently, $4,500 for digital advertising against Cortez Masto.

Several Nevada groups have recently denounced the ads attacking politicians who support treatment for transgender children, including Silver State Equality, a Nevada-based LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. In a statement released Monday, André Wade, state director of the group, said the ads “demonize transgender Americans and disseminate outright misinformation.”

“When you produce this type of negative response to the most vulnerable members of our society, you create a situation in which people feel justified in attacking them physically, mentally, and through public policy,” Wade said.

— Sean Golonka

A pile of 'I VOTED' stickers inside the Election Day voting center at the Bartley Ranch Park in Reno on Nov. 8, 2022 (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

10:52 a.m. on Nov. 8: Republicans dominate early turnout, as GOP voters express dissatisfaction with economy

Just a few hours after polls opened around the state, Republicans had a significant advantage over Democrats in Election Day turnout.

In Clark County, Republican turnout in the early hours more than doubled Democratic turnout, according to data from John Samuelsen, a University of Arkansas archeological professor who studies voting data. As of 8:50 a.m., Republicans led Election Day turnout with more than 10,000 voters, while roughly 4,900 registered Democratic voters had cast a ballot.

In Washoe County, Republican turnout from 7-9 a.m. nearly tripled Democratic turnout (2,878 voters to 1,065 voters), according to data from the Washoe County Registrar.

The gains made by Republicans helped cut down Democratic leads in turnout during the early voting period and through mail voting. That matches historical trends of Republicans winning Election Day turnout in Nevada, and does not account for mail ballots that continue to be received in the urban centers of the state.

Outside the Silverado Ranch Plaza polling location in Las Vegas, which saw the most traffic of any Clark County polling site early on Election Day, several voters who spoke with The Nevada Independent said they voted primarily for Republicans because they were upset with the state of the economy and the direction of the country under Democratic leadership.

Tim Coy, a Henderson resident who identified himself as a conservative Republican, described changes in the country over the past couple years as “chaotic, insane.”

“This is very important for us, since it's the governor's race and the lieutenant governor and senator,” he said. “Very much feel I need to [vote] to save my country.”

Coy highlighted education and inflation as being among his top issues, adding “just the whole direction” of the country to that list.

Tom Watkins, a 79-year-old Vietnam veteran who identified himself as a Trump supporter, pointed to the economy as a key factor, taking issue with high prices for gas and food. He also said he chose to vote on Election Day because he does not believe in voting by mail.

— Sean Golonka

10:07 a.m. on Nov. 8: Lombardo visits Fallon as part of a last-sprint tour around four Nevada towns

Heading into the final weekend before Election Day, Republican governor candidate Joe Lombardo spent most of his Saturday campaigning away from the state’s main population centers.

Speaking to a crowd of around 60 people Saturday inside a brewpub in Fallon (population just over 9,200), the Clark County Sheriff made it clear that this campaign stop in Churchill County, just like others in Carson City and Pahrump that day, was no accident.

“The rurals are going to take you over the top,” Lombardo said. “You're going to keep it close, but the rurals are going to take you over the top and that's how we're going to win this race come Tuesday.”

Though sparsely populated compared to Clark County and Washoe County, the 15 counties that compose rural Nevada are poised to play an outsized role in determining the winners of Nevada’s tightly contested races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Like Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, who spent most of the two weeks of early voting on a bus tour of rural Nevada, Lombardo has sought to run up the margins in reliably Republican rural Nevada to help offset expected pro-Democratic margins in Las Vegas. His campaign has also bashed Gov. Steve Sisolak and other Democrats on Twitter for “campaigning with celebrities,” while touting his “time meeting Nevadans across our great state.”

“You don't see Joe Lombardo campaigning with celebrities. Joe Lombardo campaigns with the working men and women of Nevada,” McDonald said before introducing Lombardo to the stage.

Attendees, including Roy Edgington Jr. who is running for re-election as mayor of Fernley — another rural town about 30 miles from Fallon — said they wanted a governor that better communicated with the rurals.

“I'm not picking on the governor, [he] had a tough deal when he closed the state. But he wouldn't talk to cities, and we have to justify it,” Edgington said, talking about the issues cities had when the state was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said he appreciates what he called an open-door policy he has had with Lombardo so far.

— Carly Sauvageau

8:28 a.m. on Nov. 8: Will precipitous precipitation plunge participation? 

Today, the Western seaboard will be clobbered by a massive storm that has coated not only all of California in rain and snow, but the whole of Nevada, too (alongside large chunks of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming). 

National Weather Service forecasts show the chance of rain “likely” in much of Southern Nevada, including almost all of Clark County. Similarly, forecasts in Washoe County show several inches of snow expected throughout the greater Reno area, with heavy snowfall expected in the Lake Tahoe area.

With all eyes on what is expected to be a day of in-person turnout favoring the GOP — as was the case in 2020 — will the inclement weather keep some voters at home? 

Possibly, the research says, but likely not (or not by much). 

One 2005 study, for instance, found that an inch of rain could decrease turnout overall by around 1 percent, with an inch of snowfall translated to a .5 percent dip — a substantial decrease in any election with a slim margin, and one that empirically benefitted Republican presidential candidates across the election cycles being studied. 

But another study from 2010 found that although rain, snow and other inclement weather did provide a definitive cost to voters that wouldn’t exist otherwise,  poor weather also had no substantive effect on elections that were already deemed close and competitive. 

With more than $312 million in advertising spending across the Senate, gubernatorial, House and state races since June — the third most nationwide, per tracking from AdImpact — and polling averages hovering around the margin-of-error, Nevada is what the experts might describe as “quite close.” 

Also complicating factors in 2022 are the vastly different voting methodology for Nevada relative to the past two decades. The creation of universal mail-in voting during the pandemic (and separately, the embrace of early voting) has expanded options for voters not keen on casting their ballots in person, and those options have been widely embraced by Democrats, specifically, in 2020 and through the early-vote window in 2022. 

Still, the weather preparation has continued apace. Washoe County, for instance, is preparing for possible power outages and working ahead to prep county roads.

“Our Roads division has been working ahead of the storm to prep the roads, and they’ll be out bright and early plowing,” said Bethany Drysdale, the Washoe County media and communications manager, in an email to The Nevada Independent. 

However, Washoe County only plows county roads, so they are relying on the Nevada Department of Transportation, or NDOT, and local city jurisdictions to keep the main roads clear. Drysdale said that all the voting equipment in Washoe County has battery backups in case there is a power outage. If there is an outage, polling locations will not have heat or lighting, though.

The county also wants voters to be prepared for the possible winter storm if they are planning to vote on Election Day. 

Washoe County’s interim Registrar of Voters Jamie Rodriguez encouraged voters to use the county’s wait time tool, take advantage of free Election Day rides provided by the Regional Transportation Commission for those who don’t feel safe driving themselves and look at what sites have long lines.

“We definitely have locations that have the ability to accommodate long lines indoors. But we do have some sites that do not … And so if there are long lines, those lines may very well be outdoors,” Rodriguez said during a press call Monday afternoon.

— Jacob Solis & Carly Sauvageau

7 a.m. on Nov. 8: When will the election results be ready?

Remember all the 2020 election memes asking Nevada to hurry up and finish counting all the votes?

Two years later, will we be in for round two as we head into Election Day? Here’s all the need-to-know information about election results:

In a nutshell, yes, we may not know election results Tuesday night — and mail-in ballots could be the source of that vote-counting delay.

Mail ballots delivered to drop boxes by the close of polls (7 p.m.) or postmarked on Election Day must be delivered by 5 p.m. Saturday to be counted. Voters have until Monday to address any issues with their signatures

County election officials will notify voters within 48 hours if their signature is missing or the signature looks different than what is on file. An employee of the registrar’s office will ask questions to confirm the voter in question filled out and turned in their ballot. This process is known as “signature curing.” If voters need to cure their ballot, they can contact their local election office (voters can check the status of their ballot at this link).  

As of Monday, the state’s two most populous counties (Clark and Washoe) combined had more than 5,000 ballots that still needed signature cures. That means the signatures on the ballots either don’t match what’s on file, or are missing entirely. Any signatures not “cured,” or verified, by Nov. 14 will result in that ballot not being counted.

Clark County has about 4,600 ballots with signature issues. Of those ballots, Clark County officials said 89 percent need to be verified because the signature on the ballot does not match the signature on file. Washoe County has more than 1,200 ballots that need to be verified. 

“There has been some pretty quick turnaround [verifying ballots with voters], but that does seem to have slowed,” interim Washoe County Registrar Jamie Rodriguez said during a press call on Monday. 

In the 2022 primary election, just over 7,000 returned mail ballots needed a signature cure, out of more than 237,000 cast statewide. In the 2020 general election, more than 12,500 mail ballots required a signature cure, or about 1.8 percent of all mail ballots cast.

Results for the 2022 midterm election will begin posting a few hours after all polling locations close at 7 p.m. and all votes have been cast. Voters in line by 7 p.m. are allowed to cast their ballot, and no voting results can be released until everyone in line has voted.

Because of signature curing and mail-in ballots arriving after Election Day, it will take a few days to know final election results, especially in close races. Officials have 10 days from Election Day to finish counting ballots, and it’s possible close races will not be called until the end of the process.

On Nov. 22, once each county certifies the count of ballots cast, justices with the Nevada Supreme Court will meet with the secretary of state to review the election results. The governor will then issue a proclamation declaring the people elected to each office.

Here’s a timeline for wrapping up Election Day and ballot counting:

Another note to remember: If you’re still not registered to vote, that doesn’t mean you can’t cast a ballot. Nevada has same-day voter registration, so you can show up and register at a polling place until 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Happy voting!

— Tabitha Mueller & Carly Sauvageau


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