Eyes of the nation on Nevada and Washoe County – no pressure

Photo: Brian Bahouth/The Ally

On Wednesday November 4, just before the 3:00 o’clock press conference with the Washoe County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula, the Associated Press called the states of Michigan and Wisconsin for Joe Biden, which left him six votes shy of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the election. Of the six states where the AP has not called a winner, Nevada has just enough Electoral College votes to put Biden over the top.

An update in recorded votes may provide enough information for the Associated Press to declare a winner in Nevada and Biden the President Elect or not. With CNN in on the press conference, pressure for updated results was palpable.

Washoe and Clark counties are the state’s most populace counties, and earlier in the day, the Clark County Registrar of Voters told reporters that no further results would be available until Thursday morning. Deanna Spikula said her office would not release an update until Thursday morning as well.

More than 9,000 ballots were dropped off on Election Day in Washoe County, which are currently being processed. There are over 5,000 provisional ballots from people who registered to vote on Election Day. On November 10, these provisional ballots will be verified after all the mail-in votes have been tallied, according to Spikula.

Ballots post-marked by Election Day are still trickling in.

The official results will not be in until November 16 when the Canvass of the Vote will take place before the Board of County Commissioners. Until then, all Election Results are considered unofficial, as the Registrar of Voters is still counting ballots and resolving provisional ballots.

Registrar Spikula said that she and her staff are working as quickly and accurately as possible between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. She explained that it only takes a matter of seconds to tally in-person votes recorded on machines, but mail-in ballots take procedural time. Spikula estimated that she and her staff could potentially process some 20,000 mail-in ballots a day.

As of November 4, at 19:07, in Washoe County, 232,044 votes have been recorded out a total 301,145 registered voters in the County for a 77.1 percent voting rate.

Biden leads Trump 117,699 to 107,925, a margin of 9,774 votes with some 15,000 ballots yet to process.

Mail-in ballots made up the largest percentage of votes cast with 115,984 votes recorded. In-person early voting logged 93,592 votes, and 22,468 people cast votes on Election Day.

Why won’t updated results be available until Thursday morning? They need to process the ballots manually, one at a time, and they’re working on it.

“Mail-in ballots require that signature verification be done,” Spikula said via Zoom and the County’s YouTube channel. “Those ballots have to be opened in a certain procedure to ensure the secrecy of the ballot for the voters and then that they are actually sorted by precinct. And those ballots do get run in precinct order through our system. So it is definitely a little bit lengthier process for us to process mail in ballots as opposed to in-person voting.”

Zac Slotemaker of News 4 TV in Reno asked Spikula about being the object of the nation’s attention.

Spikula said her office is taking the task seriously. For Spikula and her team the top three objectives are accuracy, thoroughness, and speed, in that order.

“I know everyone’s eager to get the final result tomorrow, but I could really just caution people to wait. We have to make sure that we do the process and get those valid ballots counted before we make any determinations.

“Again, we’re doing our best. We’re working hard. Our state has been known for doing a great job with elections. Legislative changes that occurred in 2019 has definitely changed the landscape of how Nevada reports election results. But we’re working through that and my counterpart in Clark County and the other counties in the state of Nevada, we’re all working through this process and everyone’s working diligently and very systematically to make sure that every ballot that has been cast is going to be counted.”


Brian Bahouth is the editor of the Sierra Nevada Ally. Support his work and double your donation with dollar for dollar matching funds provided by NewsMatch.