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The real reason Nevada is taking so long to count all its ballots

Ah, Nevada. Before Decision 2020 you probably weren’t even as well known as a state as your most famous city, Las Vegas. But this year, you’re in the spotlight as we collectively crawl towards the end of an election night that began on November 3.

Nevada might have just six electoral votes, but it could become a kingmaker for either President Donald Trump or his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, who is currently leading in the polls. To its credit, Nevada has been great at managing expectations, with Jennifer Russell, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State telling The Guardian, “We told everyone early on that results would take at least 10 days.”

Part of the delay is caused by the sheer volume of mail-in ballots that continue to come in. In August, the Nevada Legislature passed a bill to try and curb the spread of coronavirus by promising that they would count ballots postmarked by Election Day if they arrive at election offices within seven days from November 3, and that’s where we are today.

“It’s been a different year for us. The volume is definitely something that we’ve never seen before in the state as far as receiving and processing mail-in ballots,” says Deanna Spikula, registrar of voters in Nevada’s second-largest county, Washoe County (via USA Today).

Most of the uncounted Nevada ballots are in Clark County

USA Today points out that most of the untallied votes are in one location — Clark County — which includes Las Vegas. The Clark County registrar of voters Joe Gloria has become a hero for vote canvassers for his decision to hold the line and get the count done right. On Thursday, Gloria said, “Our goal here in Clark County is not to count fast. We want to make sure that we’re being accurate. The results in the state of Nevada are obviously going to be very important to the entire country, so that is our No. 1 goal” (via Las Vegas Sun).

All the love and respect a lot of the country has for Nevada’s electoral processes hasn’t kept people from creating memes poking good-natured fun at the speed with which the Nevada count is taking place. One social media post clipped a segment from the popular children’s show Blue’s Clues compares the counting process to lead character Steve celebrating the arrival of a single letter. Another compared poll workers to Zootopia‘s Flash Slothmore. But as Joe Biden put it in his latest speech: “”As slow as it goes, it can be numbing. But never forget the votes aren’t just numbers — they represent men and women who exercised their right to vote” (via Twitter). 

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