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Nevada Among Battleground States That Are Too Close To Call

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(AP Photo/Scott Sonner).

A man leaves the polling place where about 100 mostly masked northern Nevadans were waiting to vote in person at Reed High School in Sparks about two hours before the polls closed Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in the western battleground state. Mail-in ballots also were sent to active registered statewide, including Reno-Sparks, where registration is split almost evenly among the two major parties.

Nevada is among a few states that have not finished counting ballots and remain too close to call. 

As of early Wednesday morning, Biden at 49.2 percent of the vote and incumbent Donald Trump had 48.6 percent.

There are also two races for the House that remain outstanding. Democrats Susie Lee in Congressional District 3 and Steven Horsford in Congressional District 4 have yet to know whether they'll be going back to Washington D.C.

The Secretary of State told the Associated Press that a new batch of results wouldn't be released until 9 a.m. Thursday.

Sondra Cosgrove is the president of the League of Women Voters in Nevada. She explained that votes made on a machine are easier to count but the mail-in ballots sent out due to the coronavirus pandemic are more time-consuming.

"Today, they're going to have to be taking the mail-in ballots that were dropped off yesterday and they're going to be looking at mail-in ballots that are coming in through the mail," she said, "That process is time-consuming. They're being very diligent. They're matching signatures. They're making sure the ballot is actually verified before it gets counted."

Cosgrove believes it is a good thing that election officials are going to be focused on getting the votes verified and counted. 

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While Nevada is still too close to call, along with Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, President Trump said during a speech late last night, "We will win this, and as far as I'm concerned, we already have won it," and in a tweet falsely accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.

Cosgrove said it was "irresponsible" of the president to say that, noting that his campaign's legal team sued - and won - to extend voting time in Clark County when polling sites were delayed in starting because of technical issues, arguing that every voter deserves a chance to vote and that every vote that gets cast be counted.

"I think legally we're going to be fine," she said, "The court system and our awesome election officials will make sure that all the votes are counted and that we can all be assured of that. But it is very disconcerting when somebody in that high of a public office makes those statements." 

Former Republican State Senator and current lobbyist Warren Hardy told KNPR's State of Nevada that he is not surprised that the presidential race is a tight one.

He knew it would come down to Pennsylvania - in the end. He also believes Nevada will eventually be called for Biden.

What he did find surprising is the shift of working-class voters, and Latino voters to some extent, from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

"There seems to be a fairly seismic shift, if you look at the fact that Wisconsin was even close - that Michigan was even close,  to the Republicans by working-class Americans," he said.

One thing from Election Night that surprised a great many people is how off the polling seemed to be. Before the election started, Joe Biden was leading in many polls.

Dan Lee is a professor of political science at UNLV. He said while it looks like the pollster were wrong, in reality, they really weren't. For instance, North Carolina was always predicted to be within the margin of error.

"I think it remains to be seen exactly how far polls are off," Lee said, "Definitely, there are dynamics in the campaign that are sometimes hard to see in the polls."

Lee pointed to the president's approval rating as an example. It had slowly been trending more positively in the weeks before the election. 

"It could be that we were seeing some of these changes in some of these polls but they weren't manifesting themselves completely," he said.

Lee also noted that polling is based on 'likely voters' but so many of the get-out-the-vote efforts, by both campaigns, were dramatically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that those numbers could have been affected. 

One of the largest minority blocs that everyone has been keeping an eye on this year is the Latino vote. Much has been made about how that bloc in Florida's Miami-Dade County voted.

But Grecia Lima, national political director for Community Change Action, said Nevada was different.

"The Latino voters that we talked to said that their top priority of issues were around the economy and the health and safety of their families, which as you can imagine, Latinos are still being impacted more by COVID. That was a really important thing."

While the vote totals aren't in yet, Lima is optimistic that Joe Biden will carry Nevada, securing the state's six electoral votes.

"Based on the participation that we saw from those infrequent voters, who are Latino voters, who are Black voters, I still think we'll see the results go for Nevada and that will be thanks to Latinos, Black voters and the native vote," she said.

One of the biggest trends in American elections could be seen starkly - just like in 2016 - on the election map. Overall, urban voters tend to pick Democrats and rural voters tend to pick Republicans.

Robert Lang is a professor of public policy at UNLV and executive director of the Lincy Institute at UNLV.

He is also the co-author of a new book on the urban and rural divide. Lang said what has happened to Nevada, where the large urban areas have pulled the state to the left, is playing out elsewhere.

"Increasingly, these large metros, that are million-plus metros, like Atlanta, Charlotte, Austin, Dallas, they're voting differently than the rest of the state and you see it dramatically in Las Vegas," he said. 

Lang said that in the 2024 election cycle Atlanta will have the same pull on Georgia that Las Vegas and Reno have on Nevada.

In addition, there are issues that urban areas no longer see as controversial, like same-gender marriage and marijuana. Lang said there will continue to be "Clark County only" issues that the county will pull the rest of the state left. 

He gave the example of the gun regulation passed a few years ago by a majority in Clark County, while the rest of the state opposed it. 

"It's a kind of mixed-up world," he said, "There's not sectionalism anymore. There's cosmopolitanism and non-cosmopolitanism." 

For More Results: Live Nevada Election Results from NPR

Clark County Election Department

Secretary of State Election Department 

Guests

Sondra Cosgrove, president, Nevada League of Women Voters; Warren Hardy, former Republican state senator; Dan Lee, political science professor, UNLV; Robert Lang, author, Blue Metros/Red States; Grecia Lima, national political director, Community Change Action

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