Biden wins Nevada, keeping battleground in Democrats’ column
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joe Biden has won Nevada, continuing a 16-year trend of Democrats picking up the Western battleground state.
His victory four days after Election Day gives him Nevada’s six Electoral College votes and denies President Donald Trump a state he hoped to pick up this year after a narrow loss in 2016.
The Associated Press called the race in Nevada shortly after Biden had defeated Trump on Saturday to become the 46th president, crossing the threshold of the 270 Electoral College votes he needed with a win in Pennsylvania.
Throughout the week, the country had focused on Nevada as it tabulated results as Biden was on the brink of the presidency and the state’s Electoral College votes would be enough to put him over the threshold. In the end, Pennsylvania got there first.
Election officials in Nevada’s Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and three-quarters of the state’s population, said they were focusing on accuracy over speed and that the large number of mail-in ballots was new and making the counting process take longer than normal.
The state mailed ballots to all active registered voters this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, a move the Trump campaign had challenged.
Biden came out of election night with a slim lead that grew later as more ballots were counted.
As the former vice president closed in on the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the White House, attention turned to Nevada and what felt like a painstakingly slow count of mail-in ballots.
Other states with close contests also were tabulating votes after Election Day.
Unlike some counties where election workers counted ballots round the clock and new tallies trickled in every few hours, Nevada was providing once-a-day updates until Friday, when it switched to twice a day.
Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria said his employees worked shifts from 5 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., counting and verifying mail-in ballots in planned stages. He pushed back against rushing the process.
Gloria told reporters Saturday morning that he still had about 39,000 mail ballots to count and those results should be released by the end of the weekend. There are also 60,000 provisional ballots that needed to be processed, but results from those are not expected before Wednesday.
Total turnout in Nevada has not yet been released, but it’s already higher than 2016. The number of ballots cast by mail and in person before Election Day had surpassed total turnout in 2016.
Mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be counted if they arrive by Tuesday. The last day to count all ballots is Nov. 12.
Democrats hold a slight advantage among registered voters in the state, with 37%. Republicans make up 33%, and nonpartisan voters are 24%.
The GOP and Trump’s campaign have been working together in Nevada, putting more than 60 staffers on the ground, roughly double their effort four years ago.
But Democrats insist they were not taking their past wins for granted.
Between the party and the Biden campaign, there were more than 100 staffers in Nevada. They activated get-out-the-vote networks that they have been building for years, especially to reach Nevada’s communities of Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans.
One of Democrats’ biggest on-the-ground-advantages is the heavily Latino casino workers’ Culinary Union. While the Democratic Party and Biden campaign didn’t resume in-person efforts until October because of the coronavirus, instead relying on virtual organizing, the union has been knocking on doors since August. They had more than 400 members working to get out the vote in Las Vegas and Reno.
The president made three trips to the state in the past two months, including last week where he stayed overnight at his hotel in Las Vegas before holding a rally in Bullhead City, Arizona, just outside Nevada.
Biden made one trip to Nevada since the Democratic presidential caucuses earlier this year, stopping in Las Vegas in early October for an event with Latinos and a drive-in rally.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.