KNPR

Taking Stock Of Nevada's Vote

ap20308617979992.jpg

(AP Photo/John Locher)

People vote at a polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Las Vegas.

The eyes of the nation are on Nevada as election workers count votes that could ultimately decide the presidential race.

If election officials announce that Democrat Joe Biden has won Nevada, and its six electoral votes, then he will hit the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency. 

However, this morning, the Trump campaign and the Nevada Republican Party announced they've filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of some votes.

Desert Companion staff writer and State of Nevada producer Heidi Kyser was at Thursday morning's news conference announcing the lawsuit. In addition to the reporters on hand, Kyser said there were quite a few pro-Trump demonstrators carrying signs and chanting "Stop the Vote."

"There was a press conference. It started with former Attorney General Adam Laxalt. He was flanked by Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald and a couple of other people from Team Trump, who refused to identify themselves, as well as two people who said that they had actually experienced some irregularities themselves," Kyser said.

Specifically, Laxalt claimed that they had heard reports of "thousands of ballots" being cast by people who no longer live in Clark County, as well as, reports of ballots being cast by people who are deceased. 

Support comes from

The former AG also said there were households that had received extra ballots. He gave an example of a household that got 18 ballots.

"They had this one woman present, Jill Stokke, who told her story of showing up to vote and being denied the right to vote...because someone had already cast a ballot in her name," Kyser said.

Stokke also said the mail-in ballots she and her roommate had received at their home were stolen.

"Laxalt said they are filing suit in federal court here in Las Vegas this morning, claiming fraud," Kyser said, "I believe the filing they're doing this morning is for TRO, a temporary restraining order, or some type of injunction to actually have the counting of votes stopped right away so they can have these irregularities that they're claiming investigated."  

Kyser said the members of the Trump team declined to answer questions.

According to the Nevada Secretary of State's office, as of Thursday morning, with 77 percent of precincts reporting, Biden had 604,251 voters or 49.43 percent and President Donald Trump had 592,813 or 48.50 percent.

Ric Grenell, Donald Trump adviser and former acting director of national intelligence, speaks during a news conference in front of the Clark County Election Department, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Also during the news conference, former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell blamed the so-called "Harry Reid machine," alleging the former Senate minority leader and his colleagues in the Democratic Party were recklessly mailing in ballots. 

Harry Reid didn't hold back his thoughts about those allegations when he spoke to KNPR's State of Nevada Thursday morning.

"It's disgusting. It's about as smart as Adam Laxalt's statement this morning saying Trump would have won if we didn't have mail-in ballots. How about that for a statement?" Reid said.

The longtime senator said he has not seen anything like what is going on during this year's election in his years in politics, "but the four years of Trump has brought a new era to American politics."

Reid said the Trump era has hurt the country's standing in the world and hurt the Republican Party overall.

"Trump has ruined the brand of the Republican Party," he said, "That is why you have the Lincoln Project, Colin Powell and many others, stalwart Republicans who are coming out saying, 'We're not voting for Trump. We're voting for Biden,' because they think the Republican brand has been ruined, and they need to re-establish the Republican Party."

Reid also believes, ultimately, Biden will win Nevada and the presidency.

About an hour after the Trump campaign held its news conference, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria held one of his own to update everyone on the counting process.

He said the county was able to tabulate more than 60,000 votes on Wednesday. The bulk of those had been dropped off on Election Day. The election department is now working to count another 51,000 ballots today.

Gloria expected to have most of the mail-in ballots processed by the weekend. 

Clark County Registrar of Voters talking at news conference Thursday/Heidi Kyser

If this election has shown the country one thing, it has to be the continued and deepening divide between rural and urban counties. Looking at a map, Nevada is a sea of red with two pockets of blue in the north and in the south.

Fred Lokken is a professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College. He said the divide between rural and urban has a lot to do with how people in each section view government.

"It's a conflict of values," he said, "They look at government differently. They have different expectations of government. They, perhaps, don't have as broad a view of government as those in the urban area would have."

He said the rural lifestyle in any state tends to be more traditional. 

Because of that move from rural to more urban, Nevada, overall, has moved from the purple column to the blue column like California, Washington and Oregon, Lokken said.

"We feel like a divided state - Republican - Democrat," he said, "When you look at the map you see it. Fifteen of our counties are preponderantly Republican. One is preponderantly Democrat and one is transitioning from a history of Republican to becoming a Democratic county."

Lokken said the two blue counties, Clark and Washoe, will represent about 92 percent of the state's population.

The professor also noted that the coronavirus pandemic has distorted this year's voting process. 

State Senator Chris Brooks, a Democrat from Las Vegas, agreed that the virus has changed the way politicians campaigned this year, but he brushed off the idea that there has been any fraud during the election and vote counting.

"There is little credibility left with the Nevada GOP, the Trump campaign or Adam Laxalt," he said, "Their statements don't carry a lot of weight with me."

Brooks also noted that Nevada has one of the best election systems in the country. He said Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria and the county's election department as a whole are nationally recognized as one of the best in the country.

"I have a tremendous amount of faith that they are doing what they do and they are counting their votes," he said, "The number one thing we need to recognize is that every vote needs to be counted no matter how long that takes."

Republican State Senator Ben Kieckhefer also supported the peaceful transition as a cornerstone of our democracy.

"We are a country that changes power regularly, and we pick up and move on," he said, "A lot of people think that Election Day is the most patriotic moment. I always feel that when it's January 20, and we have another peaceful transfer of power from one party to another that's when revolutions grow in other countries, that is not how we do it here regardless of who is occupying the White House."

 

Secretary of State Election Night Results

Guests

Fred Lokken, professor, Truckee Meadows Community College; Harry Reid, former Senate Majority Leader; Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, Republican, Reno; Sen. Chris Brooks, Democrat, Las Vegas

KNPR and NPR Thank-You Gifts including t-shirts hoodies and cap