Nevada Count Nears Deadline

Cortez Masto trails Laxalt by a few hundred votes as counting deadline nears
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 12, 2022 5:40 PM CST
Nevada Senate Race Tightens
Joe Gloria, Clark County registrar of voters, responds to a question during a news conference Saturday in North Las Vegas.   (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Nevada's ballot count has entered its final act in the nail-biter contest between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Saturday is the last day that mail ballots can arrive and be counted under the state's new voting law. Election officials were hustling to get through a backlog of tens of thousands of ballots to determine the race's winner, with the state's largest county saying it hoped to be effectively done by the evening, the AP reports. The Nevada race took on added importance after Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was declared the winner of his reelection campaign in Arizona on Friday night, giving his party 49 seats in the chamber. Republicans also have 49.

If Cortez Masto wins, Democrats would maintain their control of the Senate given Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. If Laxalt wins, the Georgia Senate runoff next month would determine which party has the single-vote Senate edge. Cortez Masto was only a few hundred votes behind Laxalt on Saturday, with most of the remaining uncounted ballots in heavily Democratic Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. Democrats were confident those ballots would vault their candidate into the lead. Laxalt has said he expects to maintain his advantage and be declared the victor. But on Saturday he acknowledged in a tweet that the calculus has changed because Cortez Masto had performed better than Republicans expected in Clark County ballots counted over the past few days. "This has narrowed our victory window," he tweeted.

If a winner isn't clear by the end of the day on Saturday, attention would shift to a few thousand more ballots that could be added to the totals early next week. Mail ballots with clerical errors can be "cured" by voters until the end of the day Monday, then added to the totals. And a few thousand provisional ballots also remain—votes that election officials must double-check are legally countable by Tuesday before they can be tallied. "We know that this is a serious count. There are people nationwide who are looking to these results," Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, said at a press conference Saturday. "We know that people need to see that count. We're not going to delay it any further." Gloria said all 22,000-plus remaining ballots would be tabulated by Saturday evening.

(More 2022 midterms stories.)

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