Democrats lead GOP by 29K votes in Clark, Washoe after early voting
The Democratic lead is more than the party had in 2018, when it won all but one statewide office. But the more than 126,000 nonpartisan votes will likely decide the close races.
Democrats have a lead of about 29,000 votes in Nevada’s two largest counties after the end of early voting, according to figures posted by county elections offices on Saturday.
That lead — which doesn’t include vote totals in Nevada’s 15 smaller rural counties — exceeds the nearly 21,400-vote lead the party had statewide after early voting in 2018, when Democrats won the governor’s mansion and all but one statewide constitutional office.
In 2014, when Republicans took over every statewide office and won both houses of the Nevada Legislature, the GOP held a lead of more than 24,000 votes statewide at the end of early voting.
Nonpartisan voters accounted for more than 126,000 votes cast in Clark and Washoe counties thus far, and will likely determine the winners of key races that are expected to be close. With a few exceptions, statewide partisan elections in Nevada over the last two decades have been decided by vote margins ranging between about 11,500 and 49,000 votes.
According to figures from Clark County, Republicans beat Democrats when it came to casting votes in person during the two-week early voting period that ran from Oct. 22 through Friday. But Democrats turned in nearly twice as many mail ballots, to finish about 28,600 votes ahead of the GOP.
Leading in Clark
Democrats had more than 171,000 total votes in Clark County, compared with Republicans with more than 142,000. All told, turnout in Clark County stands at 31.5 percent thus far.
In Washoe County, however, the parties were much closer, with Democrats finishing just 407 votes ahead of the GOP. Democrats outpaced Republicans in mail ballots in Washoe as well, although more Republicans voted in person every single day during early voting.
Democrats cast more than 47,400 votes in Washoe County, with Republicans close behind at just more than 47,000. Washoe County turnout stands at 40.4 percent currently.
Together, Clark and Washoe counties comprise 87.5 percent of all Nevada’s 1.8 million active registered voters.
The most voters turned out to vote in person during the last three days of early voting in Clark County: Friday saw 31,766 votes cast, with 19,457 cast on Thursday and 15,897 on Wednesday. Those were also the most popular days for in-person early voting in Washoe County.
Mail voting popular
But mail-in voting — in which every active registered voter is sent a mail ballot — has quickly become the preferred method of casting votes in Nevada’s largest counties. More than 218,000 people mailed in a ballot so far, while nearly 195,000 chose to vote in person in Clark County. In Washoe, the trend was the same: More than 68,000 people mailed their vote in, while just more than 53,000 voted in person.
Mail ballots were never a large part of elections in Nevada until the Legislature passed a law in a specialsession during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to send ballots to all voters in order to minimize disease transmission at the polls. The law was made permanent in 2021.
Voters who have yet to cast a ballot can still do so in two ways: First, they can fill out a mail ballot, returning it through the mail or at a ballot drop box at a local government office or at a voting center on Election Day on Tuesday. Or they can cast a ballot in person at voting centers across Clark County on Election Day, when polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Preliminary election results will be announced sometime Tuesday evening, but only after every voter anywhere in Nevada who was in line at 7 p.m. is able to cast a ballot. Results will be considered preliminary, because an unknown number of mail ballots will remain to be counted. (Under the law, ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 12 in order to be counted.)
The Review-Journal will post election results on its website, www.reviewjournal.com, along with coverage of all the major races, once results are released.
Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.