Hey Nevada, why is it taking so long to count these votes?

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Joe Biden (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) and President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) on election night.

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With the nation’s eyes on Nevada and 270 electoral votes in sight, people are getting impatient to know which way the state will go: Biden or Trump?

Election officials at the state and local levels have deflected criticism, consistently pointing to the law laid out during a special session of the Nevada Legislature this summer. But what’s the holdup?

“Our goal here in Clark County is not to count fast. We want to make sure that we are being accurate,” according to Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria. “The results in the state of Nevada obviously are going to be very important to the entire country.”

The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office says the count is “proceeding at the expected pace.” Wednesday afternoon, the office said 190,150 votes still need to be counted — the first time an actual number was offered by the state.

Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria.

At 1 p.m. Thursday, the Nevada reports that former Vice President Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by 11,438 votes. It’s 49.43 percent to 48.50 percent.

Some of the reasons cited for the pace of reporting election results were detailed in an FAQ sent out by the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday:

Why is it taking Nevada so long to count ballots?
The counting of ballots in Nevada is proceeding at the expected pace. The timeline for counting ballots in Nevada comes from the legislatively approved process, and this process dictates that all properly received ballots will continue to be counted for up to nine days after the election.
Why did Nevada election officials stop counting ballots at the end of election night?
We did not stop counting ballots. The counting of ballots is ongoing and will continue until every cast ballot is counted.
What ballots have been counted so far?
All in-person early votes, all in-person Election Day votes, and most of the mail ballots received before Election Day have been counted. Unofficial election results are available here: https://silverstateelection.nv.gov.
What ballots remain to be counted?
The remaining ballots that have not been counted include mail ballots received on or after Election Day and ballots cast by voters who registered to vote at the polling place (known as same-day voter registration).
How many ballots remain to be counted?
This number is unknown at this time. Many counties received a large volume of mail ballots on Election Day, either dropped off at a ballot drop-off location or delivered via USPS, and the ballots are being sorted and processed today. An update on ballots remaining to be counted will be provided when the information becomes available.
Why can’t the Secretary of State determine how many mail ballots are outstanding?
A mail ballot was automatically sent to all active registered voters in Nevada. Also, state law allows ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received and counted after Election Day. This combination means every registered voter who has not yet voted is a potential outstanding ballot.
When will the unofficial election results be updated?
Unofficial election results will be updated daily around 9:00 am starting on November 5. One-off updates may occur from time-to-time.
Why won’t unofficial election results be updated more frequently than once a day?
The processing and counting of mail ballots is labor intensive, and additional reporting requirements would reduce the efficiency of the county election boards.
What is the last day a mail ballot can be received in the mail?
Mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day (November 3) and received no later than 5:00 pm on November 10 will be counted. This means election officials will not know the final number of mail ballots cast until 5:00 pm on November 10.
What is the deadline for voters to cure their signature?
Voters who require a signature cure have until 5 p.m. on November 12 to provide the required signature confirmation. Voters who successfully cure their signature by the deadline will have their ballot counted.
What is the deadline by which all mail ballots must be counted?
All mail ballots must be counted on or before November 12. This deadline ensures that other processes, such as the signature cure process and the receipt of mail ballots postmarked by Election Day, can be completed and that all validly cast ballots will be counted.
When will election results become official?
Election results become official upon the canvass of the vote by the county election official. The canvass of the vote must occur on or before November 16. Until the canvass of the voter occurs, reported election results are unofficial.
Why haven’t ballots cast by voters who registered to vote at the polling place (known as same-day voter registration) been counted?
In 2019, the Nevada Legislature authorized individuals to register to vote at a polling place, either during early voting or on Election Day, and then cast a ballot at the same time. Because the county voter registration systems do not communicate with each other in real time, an individual who registers to vote at a polling place cannot be verified in real time as not having already voted in the election. For this reason, state law allows for ballots cast be same-day registrants to be provisional ballots. These provisional ballots are only counted after it is verified post-election that the voter has not voted more than once in the election.

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 04: A Clark County election worker scans mail-in ballots at the Clark County Election Department on November 4, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are in a tight race in the battleground state after yesterday’s election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Gloria did a detailed walkthrough for the media in a Wednesday news conference, describing the tasks that were performed Wednesday in Clark County.

Election Department staff counted ballots dropped off at vote centers and mail-in ballots. Those ballots include:

  • 34,743 ballots: Election Day drop-offs at voting centers and the Clark County Election Department
  • 4,208 ballots: US Postal Service deliveries from Election Day and Wednesday.
  • 24,311 ballots: Ballots that were pending when the county stopped to prepare for election.

That’s a total of 63,262 votes.

On Thursday, Election Department workers were counting more than 51,000 ballots that will be reported tomorrow. Those ballots were delivered by the US Postal Service — mail-in ballots that must carry a postmark of Nov. 3 or earlier to be valid.

Gloria said the county would release results daily and discuss

Gloria also revealed that provisional ballots cast during early voting and Election Day had been double-counted by tabulation software, and the mistake has already been corrected. The county website initially reported more than 120,000 ballots, which were actually a little over 60,000 ballots, Gloria said.

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