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Nevada Election Live Blog — Hours after polls close, voting ends

Updated November 7, 2018 - 1:13 am

High turnout, long lines and a reduced number of polling places left some Clark County voters in line hours after polls closed.

But Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said it was simply high turnout that led to long lines. “The fact that we had a good turnout is very good news for us,” he said.

During the 2016 election, voters in Clark County were assigned to one of 279 precincts. More than 233,000 people in the county voted in that election.

A law passed in 2017 gave registered voters in the county access to any of 172 vote centers. This year, more than 223,000 voters cast ballots. This was the first time during a general election that voting centers had been deployed across the state.

Despite similar turnout in 2016 and 2018, Gloria said he did not think a reduced number of polling places contributed to longer lines. He said the county has worked to make voting more accessible to everyone.

“As far as the system’s concerned, it’s performed exactly the way we expected it to,” Gloria said

Gloria said he will review the election process with his team to make changes for the 2020 election.

“We’ll definitely make improvements between now and then,” he said.

Voters in at least three counties — Clark, Lyon and Washoe — were casting ballots at least two hours after the polls closed at 7 p.m., officials said.

Several Clark County polling places had reports of lines hundreds of people deep at 7 p.m., and anyone who was in line at that time was allowed to cast a ballot, officials said.

Polling places in Clark County did not experience any technical issues with machines, but some did require additional printers. All votes were processed, Gloria said.

The first votes came into the county election center shortly after 8:15 p.m. and continued to trickle in throughout the night.

Voters in at least three counties, Clark, Lyon and Washoe, were casting ballots at least two hours after the polls closed at 7 p.m., officials said.

Several Clark County polling places had reports of lines hundreds of people deep at 7 p.m., and anyone who was in line at that time was allowed to cast a ballot, officials said.

Polling places in Clark County did not experience any technical issues with machines, but some did require additional printers. All votes were processed, Gloria said.

The first votes came into the county election center shortly after 8:15 p.m. and continued to trickle in throughout the night.

— Blake Apgar

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Among the locations with the longest lines in Clark County were the Galleria at Sunset Mall in Henderson and Rancho High School in central Las Vegas.

Just 15 minutes before the polls closed at the Galleria at Sunset, more than 200 people stood in line — plus several roaming toddlers, one dog, and one cat on a leash.

Tensions ran high when Sheila Tillemans, a cake decorator who got off at work at 6:30 p.m., tried to slip in line just after 7 p.m.

“I can only move so fast, I had two ankle surgeries,” she told election workers.

Eventually, she was let through. The lack of an enclosed space at the mall made it different than typical voting places, such as a school or community center.

Jerry Rodriguez, however, wasn’t so lucky.

He showed up about 20 minutes past closing time. He thought polls closed at 8 p.m.

And in an ironic twist, there was an early polling station right near his work in the Southern Highlands. He just didn’t realize he could now vote anywhere in Clark County.

“It kind of sucks,” he said of not being able to vote. “I really wanted to see what was going on with that Question 3.”

An hour after the doors closed at Rancho High School, the line still snaked out the voting room and into the school’s atrium. A mariachi band serenaded those waiting while others passed out water, snacks and pizza.

Voters leaving the school after the polls closed said they waited about an hour or so to cast their ballot.

Those who waited out the line after the doors closed didn’t seem to mind.

Antonia and Fernando Alverez hadn’t voted at Rancho High School before, adding that they recently moved to the area and it was convenient for them.

They waited about an hour before somebody helped Antonia Alverez to the front, on account of a disability, the 59-year-old woman said.

Waiting aside, the pair appreciated the music, water and snacks handed out to those sticking in line.

“Oh my goodness,” 63-year-old Fernando Alverez said. “Excellent.”

Alethea Velardo, 18, wasn’t thrilled about voting for the first time because politics can be “messy,” she said. However, once she cast her ballot, she was glad she did.

“I know in the end our voice matters,” she said.

Even as the line continued well after the doors closed, Velardo expected the lines to be longer and the experience to feel more “hostile,” as people with different viewpoints were gathering together.

“It didn’t feel that way,” she said.

Her mother, Leticia Vigil, 39, persuaded her to come to the polls. Vigil was a first-time midterm voter, and she said she wanted to be a part of the change she wanted to see, citing her Mexican heritage. At her daughter’s age, Vigil wasn’t as politically involved.

“I wanted her to have that experience,” she said.

Vigil hasn’t typically voted at the high school before, but she did tonight because it was down the street from her house.

One woman, Loretha Turman, 28, waited about 2.5 hours to cast her ballot. Food in hand, Turman said she wasn’t upset about the wait. The food and water being passed out helped the wait, but the chance to make your voice heard only comes around every couple of years, Turman said. Turman, who is African American, said she doesn’t take her right to vote for granted and exercises her right each chance she gets.

“You don’t reserve the right to complain if you’re not gonna do your part and vote,” she said.

Pizza to the Polls, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has pizzas delivered to polling places where long lines have formed, tweeted Tuesday that it was feeding voters throughout the Las Vegas Valley. In addition to sending pizzas to the Galleria at Sunset and Rancho late Tuesday, pizzas also were delivered to Boulevard Mall, Meadows Mall, Swainston Middle School and Dickens Elementary School, four other locations that saw hundreds of people in line when polls closed.

At Roy Martin Middle School, about 50 people still stood in line 90 minutes after polls closed.

Mark Moxey was losing steam. He got off work and stood in line for nearly two hours.

“I wasn’t going to vote but I started feeling guilty,” he said. “‘I said you know what, this is an important election.’”

He longed for the kind of pizza sent to the Galleria mall and other locations, since he didn’t have dinner.

Amelia Pak-Harvey and Mike Shoro

Election update from Rancho High School

RJ reporters update the 2018 election

Paper shortage causes delays at Las Vegas polling place

The polling place at Doris Reed Elementary School, 2501 Winwood St. had a paper shortage and was temporarily down to eight working machines of its 14 total, said Martin Boyett, the team leader at the polling station, adding that turnout was high at the station Tuesday night.

The polling station received new shipments of the paper from a warehouse and were able restore functionality to the down voting stations, he said.

Those working at the location came out to address the line of voters snaking out the door onto the sidewalk, said 68-year-old Janet Cunningham of Las Vegas, who stood in line for about 45 minutes to vote.

“They had already called somebody, and they apologized,” Cunningham said of those working at the polls.

Despite the machine issues, Cunningham said the voting experience was pleasant and among the best she’d had.

On her way out the door, she let others still waiting for their turn to vote know that the machines were working again.

Polling place staff advised the line of other nearby places people could go to vote if they didn’t want to wait for the line, Bernice Flenory said.

Flenory, 60, waited about an hour in line to vote. She said the delivery happened roughly 5:30 or so, and the machines were up and working again after that.

“Despite that it still was pretty fast,” she said, proudly wearing her “I voted” sticker on her chest.

She said she wasn’t satisfied with the Trump administration and the status quo, and voted accordingly.

“I want the blue wave,” Flenory said.

— Mike Shoro

Over 200K Nevadans have voted so far

As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, more than 200,000 Nevadans had voted on Election Day.

The 227,309 votes —including 156,491 in Clark County — is in addition to the nearly 630,000 ballots cast in early and absentee voting.

At 855,981, overall turnout for the 2018 election is well above totals seen in the 2014 midterm election. More Nevadans voted during this year’s two-week early voting period (554,000) than cast ballots in the previous midterm election (552,000).

— Colton Lochhead

Some voters waiting 30-45 minutes at polls

The line at Rancho High School, near Bruce Street and Owens Avenue, formed an “L” shape about 2:45 p.m. from the front doors.

Jimese Powell, 37, waited in line for about 30 minutes. Powell, an insurance agent from Las Vegas, wasn’t thrilled with the candidate choices on her ballot.

“They’re all kind of iffy but I pray the right person gets in office,” she said.

Powell said she thinks Tuesday marked her first time voting in a midterm election, but came to the polls more out of a sense of obligation than anything else, she said.

She voted “yes” on Question 3, she said. Powell wanted more power company options from which to choose, ultimately with the hopes she can pay less on her electricity bills.

Another woman turns out for every election and makes sure her whole family does the same.

“We’re not gonna tell you who to vote for, but you have to cast a ballot,” said 63-year-old Joyce Mason, born and raised in Las Vegas. “You must vote. It’s our right.”

Mason is a test center administrator with a private company in Las Vegas. She comes from a large family that’s based in Las Vegas, she said. She has two sons and three grandchildren.

“I’m in my 60s so I have to vote for them to the best of my ability,” she said.

Her line wait was about 45 minutes on Tuesday afternoon shorter than previous occasions when she voted later in the evening.

Mason voted for Democrats across her ballot, singling out Dean Heller as someone she wanted out of office.

“Keep Nevada blue,” she said.

— Mike Shoro

POLLING PLACE UPDATE: live from Henderson

Reporting live from the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, Aaron Drawhorn looks at the long line to vote. One voter tells the Review-Journal he wanted to vote on Election Day so he could hear everything said during the campaign before making his decision.

Judge blocks registrar from removing observers at polls

A Clark County District Court judge issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday to prevent the county registrar of voters from removing party observers from voting locations when the polls close at 7 p.m.

Attorney Erven T. Nelson filed the seven-page lawsuit Monday afternoon on behalf of the Nevada Republican Party, alleging that registrar Joe Gloria violated the state’s “express statutory requirement that members of the general public be allowed to observe the conduct of voting at polling places, particularly the closing of the polling places,” according to the complaint.

Rio Lacanlale

Getting through equipment malfunctions

Voters at Mirabelli Community Center, near Jones Boulevard and U.S. Highway 95, reported a brief issue with a sign-in machine in the late morning but said it was short-lived.

Henderson resident Anthony Ordanza, 33, said staff members at the poll were upfront about the issue and suggested other polling places nearby for those who didn’t want to wait.

“They got up to speed pretty fast,” said Ordanza, who estimated he waited about 15 or 20 minutes before casting his ballot.

While keeping the specifics of his ballot to himself, Ordanza said he typically is willing to cross party lines but stuck with one party this time around. He has voted in midterms before, but he said several of his friends hadn’t participated in any election prior until now.

“I think it’s good for our age group to be out here,” he said.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin confirmed there was a brief machine issue at the center, adding that it was quickly resolved. He said he hadn’t been told of any significant issues at voting places in the valley as of 12:30 p.m.

William Neal, 50, waited about 20 minutes to cast his ballot even with the computer issue. A self-identified “anti-Trump” man, Neal said he voted for both Democrats and Republicans. He hoped for a more balanced government.

“I kind of went both ways, but Dean Heller didn’t get my vote. I have no problem saying that,” Neal said.

He wished voters would be more willing to identify as Americans rather than a party affiliation.

“I look at the best for our country and then go from there,” Neal said.

Louis Gonzales, 48, a sound and lighting engineer from Las Vegas, said the governor’s race and the energy questions were important to him.

He voted “yes” on Question 6, which would expand the state’s renewable energy usage.

“If it’s going to help the Earth, then why not?” Gonzales said.

He expressed concerns that government was more willing to put corporate interests over those of the people.

“That’s why I always come and vote,” Gonzales said.

— Mike Shoro

Sisolak votes in Las Vegas, Laxalt in Reno

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak was in line to vote early Tuesday morning at Kenny Guinn Middle School. He was accompanied by his daughters, Ashley and Carley.

Interviewed by reporters before he cast his ballot, he said the record turnout for early voting was “great.”

“I think more people need to participate in the process. I think it says an awful lot.”

As for the importance of Nevada in the midterm elections, he said, “If you know the eyes of the nation are watching us, it’s important. I know everyone wants to know what happens in Nevada.”

His plans for the day include a Clark County Commission meeting and to keep talking to voters.

Republican candidate Adam Laxalt was accompanied by his wife and three children as he voted in Reno Tuesday morning.

Voters turning out

George Alberdt, who voted at the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls club, said he votes in every election. He stopped by the Agassi polling center at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Washington Avenue to start his day.

He said there are more people turning out to vote because more people are interested in politics today, “probably due to the current administration. Whether you like it or not, (Donald Trump) is out there tweeting every day.”

“I think the government is more transparent now. Issues are being raised every day and everyone’s got an opinion,” Alberdt said.

At the polling center at Downtown Summerlin, Irma Wenzel said it’s obvious why she came out to vote today.

“Because I want us to win,” later adding, “by ‘us’ I mean the Republicans.”

“Unfortunately I waited until the last day, but I’m glad I did it,” Wenzel said.

She said she had no issues voting at the Downtown Summerlin location. She said the staff were friendly and she didn’t have to wait in line.

Susan and Leanne Hall brought Leanne’s daughter, Kaylee, to the Downtown Summerlin vote center with them.

“I think it’s good to teach her the importance of it before she starts voting, so she can make her own decisions.”

Kaylee added, “And because I don’t have school.”

Susan, a public employee, hit the polls Tuesday because “Voting is a privilege and a right.”

Leanne, a veteran, said she felt like the effort was a little half-hearted.

“We hope that candidates will do what they say or advertise, because it is advertising, but all we can do is vote,” she said.

“It’s the only place we can have any kind of say, unless you’re a senator or you know one well enough to join the rat race.”

“I am a public employee, so some of these things affect me directly on a daily basis,” Susan said. “This is the only time I really get to have an opinion.”

— Max Michor

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter. Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter. Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @ameliapakharvey on Twitter. Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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