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Some Clark County polling places stay open extra hour after tech issues

Updated November 3, 2020 - 11:26 pm

More than 82,000 Clark County residents cast ballots on Election Day with mostly manageable lines and few problems, but technical issues early in the day forced 30 voting locations to extend polling hours.

The problems that delayed some polling place openings led to a legal challenge by the state Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s campaign. The campaign and party filed suit to get a one-hour extension to polling hours in Clark County. A judge granted the extension.

The 30 locations that extended voting hours closed at 8 p.m. Both the Las Vegas Athletic Club near Rainbow and Lake Mead boulevards and the Desert Breeze Community Center near Spring Mountain Road and Buffalo Drive had scores of voters still in line when the clock struck 8 p.m.

Katherine Hall, the second-to-last person in line after the 8 p.m. cutoff to vote at Desert Breeze Community Center, brought her 6-year-old son, Elijah, to “teach him the ways of the world.”

As a busy mom, she said she wasn’t able to vote early and felt insecure about voting by mail, and she noted that Desert Breeze was her nearest voting location.

“I’m always occupied, but today I said, ‘I have to get out today and go vote; every voice matters,’ ” she said. “I want to teach my son that his voice matters as a Black man in America.”

In the far northwest Las Vegas Valley, Mark Ceballos, 21, and Kylie Novick, 18, arrived at Bozarth Elementary School about 20 seconds before the 7 p.m. cutoff at that location, where 60 people were in line.

“I worked late, so I literally ran home, changed, and we drove straight over here,” Ceballos said. “It was stressful, but luckily we were able to park close and get in line just before they cut it off.”

The two said they wanted to cast their votes in person because it’s their first time voting in a presidential election.

“It feels big,” Novick said of the election. “And voting in person just feels more real.”

Throughout the day, many voters experienced little to no wait to cast their ballots.

Inside the Doolittle Community Center about noon, a few voting machines were unoccupied.

Kevin Joseph, 57, said he was in and out of the location in 15 minutes. He cast his ballot for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“They seem to be more in touch with common folks, that’s all,” he said. “But they’re all politicians so there’s only so much they’re allowed to do once they get in that arena.”

Workers at the Meadows Mall voting location said Tuesday morning that technology problems occasionally cropped up, but were resolved quickly. That site was up and running at 7 a.m., the team leader said. Voters who came to the location shortly after 10 a.m. faced a short wait.

At about 3 p.m., some 90 people waited to cast ballots in the Boulevard Mall parking lot.

The voting location’s team leader, Rosanne Keys, said her polling place was running “smooth as silk,” with voters throughout the day having to wait about an hour.

Las Vegas resident Ted Payne, 58, said glitches forced him to spend about 25 minutes checking in to vote at the location. He said election workers told him his issues were an anomaly.

Payne, an Independent, said he voted for President Donald Trump. He said he likes Biden, but worries the former vice president is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “stooge.”

He said he likes that Trump is not a politician.

“He’s a businessman,” Payne said. “He’s almost like a regular guy.”

‘This is the process, and it’s beautiful’

The Galleria at Sunset mall, typically one of the county’s busiest polling locations, experienced a large line Tuesday morning, but workers processed voters efficiently.

However, some voters waited up to three hours to cast ballots at Faiss Middle School, near Fort Apache and Sunset roads. Lines at a polling station at Centennial Center saw wait times of about 30 minutes early in the day, but those waits tapered off to about 10 minutes by early afternoon.

Among the voters at Centennial Center was John Bushnell, a 68-year-old who voted Republican. He said this election is different than those of the past. It made him reflect about his importance as a voter.

“I thought to myself, ‘This really is the day that America is gonna determine its future,’ ” he said. “Of course I still want my guy to win, but I thought, ‘This is how it works, this is the process, and it’s beautiful.’ ”

The Nevada secretary of state’s elections division said in a tweet just after 9 p.m. that all voters who were in line had voted. As of 10:30 p.m., results were still coming in.

Tuesday’s turnout during the coronavirus pandemic was dwarfed by the county’s Election Day turnout of slightly more than 235,000 voters in 2016. However, statewide, votes cast by mail ballot or during the early voting period this year exceed the total vote in the last presidential election.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

Review-Journal staff writers Jannelle Calderon, Alexis Ford, Katelyn Newberg and Glenn Puit contributed to this report.

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