What’s going on in Nevada right now? While everyone else in the country seems to be managing the task of counting the remaining ballots and providing regular updates to the public, Nevada election officials put out their latest count earlier this morning and then stated there would be no more updates until tomorrow. Because this is 2020, as with most things these days, we had to learn about this decision via a tweet. Even leaving aside the terrible optics of this, they’re creating more unrest than they are resolving.
Here’s what is left to count:
-Mail ballots received on Election Day
-Mail ballots that will be received over the next week
Ballots outstanding is difficult to estimate in Nevada because every voter was sent a mail ballot. Obviously, not all will vote.
— Nevada Elections (@NVElect) November 4, 2020
As of the last count, Biden was leading in Nevada by a bit less than 8,000 votes. They claim to have tallied 100% of the in-person voting, both early and from yesterday. They’re also saying that they’ve counted all of the mail-in ballots received through Monday. So that means that they’re now in the process of counting all of the ballots that arrived yesterday and the ones “that will be received over the next week.”
How many people really cut it that close to the wire? I suppose a number of people may have dropped them off in person yesterday, so it’s tough to say how many that might be. The rest will be from people who didn’t bother mailing their votes until Monday or Tuesday of this week. I can’t imagine that’s a huge number.
Donald Trump really needs that final surge to put him over the finish line. I’m not trying to be the toad at the garden party here, but I’ve been looking over the math this morning and it’s not pretty. From the states that have been officially called at this point, Trump still only has 213 electoral votes locked in. He’ll wind up getting Alaska, but that’s only three more. That means he’s still got to scrape up 54 more electoral college votes somewhere.
Even if he locks up North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania (all still within reach, at least in theory), they have 51 between them, leaving Trump stranded at 267. Minnesota is gone and Michigan is looking increasingly like it’s slipping away this morning. (Biden is up by roughly 20K as of this writing.) All that really leaves is Nevada. If Biden walks away with that one, Trump is a one-term president as things stand now.
With all of that on the line, why would Nevada election officials pull the curtain over their counting process? Surely they know how that looks and how people will react if they come back tomorrow and announce that most of the ballots arriving yesterday mysteriously went disproportionately to Biden. Even worse, what if Trump is somehow ahead by a sliver but more ballots keep “arriving over the next week” and it swings back the other way? We’re going to have a mess on our hands.
Of course, Trump could always ask for a recount if he’s willing to pay the cost of it. The same goes for Michigan and possibly Wisconsin. (Nevada doesn’t appear to have any automatic threshold to trigger a recount without a request being made.) He has until November 20th to make that request, or three days after the final canvassing is complete, whichever comes first. But how often have we seen a state’s results reversed on a recount? Not often, particularly if you have to find nearly 10,000 votes.
Nevada election officials need to get their act together. Things are tense enough out there as it is and all they are doing right now is further eroding public trust in the system and fanning the flames of Trump supporters who already believe the Democrats are trying to steal this thing.