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What we know about the 2022 election in Nevada so far

Election 2022 Nevada
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., left, speaks alongside Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak during an election night party hosted by the Nevada Democratic Party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas.

UPDATE (Thursday, Nov. 10): Clark County on Thursday morning said more than 50,000 ballots still need to be counted.

According to Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria, 626 ballots were dropped off by the USPS on Thursday. The last date to receive mail ballots postmarked by Nov. 8 is Saturday, the county said. 

Gloria said his staff of about 200 workers were in the process of validating 5,555 provisional ballots, which means identifying duplicates or illegal voting in more than one county, pending a report from the Nevada Secretary of State. 

There are about 7,100 ballots that need to be cured. The county is reaching out to those voters. Voters have until Monday at 5 p.m. to cure their ballot. To get assistance, contact their hotline at 702-455-6552.

The hotline hours are Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gloria said the election department will continue to work on Veterans Day.

Watch the full Thursday press briefing below:

ORIGINAL REPORT (Wednesday, Nov. 9): The polls are closed, and the ballots cast in the 2022 midterm election. And right now, it’s anyone’s guess how some of the top races in the state will turn out. 

People vote at a polling station in a mall Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The number of voters was very weak, which typically hurts Democrats. And the latest results from in-person voting shows Republicans —U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt and Joe Lombardo, running for governor— ahead. 

And it’s been reported that thousands of mail-in ballots still need to be counted. What’s it all mean? 

“We don't know how many mail ballots there are out there making their way to the county and to other counties across the state. But [Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe] Gloria suggested during his press conference … he will not be surprised if the vote total here is certainly larger than 2018m and possibly larger than 2020,” Hugh Jackson, editor of the Nevada Current, told State of Nevada host Joe Schoenmann on Wednesday. 

“I think that Trump is a big agitator of voter outreach on both sides. He gets out a lot of Republicans, but he also gets out a lot of Democrats.”

Jackson also said abortion likely played a larger role than polls suggested. 

Elliot Malin, a Republican strategist in Nevada, said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the Republican candidate for governor, likely feels good right now, but lower ballot Democrats may retake their leads. 

“Something I saw through this campaign cycle is that a lot of these candidates, especially statewide candidates, only talked to their base after the primary. Well, you can't win with just your base, especially in a state that's a third independent, nonpartisan voters,” said Malin. “Nevada is not a very hyper-partisan state, I would not say we're a red state or a blue state. Nevada is a very purple state. And we see that right now. … I think a lot of people took that for granted, and they might suffer the consequences for that.”

Political science Professor Fred Lokken of Truckee Meadows Community College echoed Jackson’s sentiment on abortion.

“I think abortion was a surprise issue,” he said. “Everybody thought it had faded, but that was front and center, more women turning out, more young people participating. The enthusiasm gap disappeared between the Democrats and Republicans in the last week. This was a very untypical midterm election and driven by very serious issues this time.”

An election worker prepares mail-in ballots at the Clark County Election Department on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Jackson also wondered how much the state of democracy and the Jan. 6 insurrection mattered to independents. 

“I want to be hopeful and think that a lot of independents take that issue seriously. And I also want to be hopeful that a lot of Republicans, thoughtful Republicans, also take that issue seriously. And hence, refusing to vote for someone like Jim Marchant,” he said.

Also on the ballot this year was Question 3, which was for an open primary and ranked-choice voting, something we’ve spoken with College of Southern Nevada Professor Sondra Cosgrove about several times.

“It has just over 51% right now. And so we definitely are hearing from voters that a majority, slim majority, want this. But what's nice about this being a constitutional amendment, it has to pass a second time in 2024,” she said Wednesday morning. “We have a whole two years to have conversations about this, to make sure in 2024, either way, people are going to say, ‘I understand this, and I'm for it, or I'm against it.’”

Hear the full interview above for more local analysis.

Dems acknowledge tight races

While Nevada Republicans celebrated at Red Rock Resort, Democrats were were at the Encore, on the Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday night.

About a hundred supporters were in attendance at the Democrat watch party when Governor Steve Sisolak and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto walked on stage together. Both acknowledged they were in tight races and that results would not be in for a couple of days. 

"Our positive energy got us to where we are today, and we are going to make sure that positive energy continues to flow this week. We are gonna get this done!" added Cortez Masto.

According to the Nevada Secretary of State, counties have until Nov. 12 to receive mail ballots.

Cisco Aguilar, candidate for Nevada Secretary of State, speaks at a campaign event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Attendees listed off several issues that were most important to them as they cast their vote, from abortion rights to the economy, to keeping the Senate blue. One attendee, Carolyn Salvador Avila, said her priority was fair elections.

“I know we definitely have to consider that democracy is on the ballot," she said. "And that's so important to me. Not having an authoritarian government and making sure that everybody's voice is heard, like I've said, you know, people voting, making sure that the people who are in office are representing us and not just making decisions. I think that's so important, making sure that the elections are valid.” 

Anna Wood with the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce was in attendence at the Republican watch party. She said she wants to see more candidates elected who focus on stability, inflation and crime.

"We're hoping that we have a successful year this year and that we can bring Nevada back to a more stable economy. I would love to see our community working together, so that our economy rises, because we've been on a downfall for a while since COVID. And I think it's time to rebuild and restrengthen our community," she said. 

- Yvette Fernandez, Zachary Green and Mike Prevatt/KNPR

Senate race too close to call

Laxalt and Cortez Masto have been locked in a tight race for weeks, both hitting hard on national party talking points: Laxalt blaming inflation and illegal immigration on Democratic policies, and Cortez Masto promising to block GOP-led attempts at a nationwide abortion ban and to fight for a pathway to permanent citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Hours after the polls closed, both candidates told supporters that they expected to come out ahead.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt speaksto supporters during an election night campaign event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

“We are exactly where we want to be in this race. We have a lot of votes coming in across the state yet,” Laxalt said. “We are going to win this race.”

Voters in some parts of the state braved long lines, bad weather and technical difficulties in making their choice. At about 7:15 p.m., Cortez Masto and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed an emergency request for a Nevada judge to keep some polling locations in Clark County open for an extra two hours. Attorneys for the DSCC cited printing problems that they said left some people unable to vote.

Clark County District Judge Gloria Sturman in Las Vegas denied the request, however. Polling places did remain open for people who were in line before 7 p.m.

The outcome of the Senate race between Laxalt and Cortez Masto could illustrate the potency of the Democratic Party’s focus on abortion against the economic woes frequently cited by the GOP.

Roughly three-fourths of Nevada voters say things in the country are heading in the wrong direction, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of nearly 2,200 voters in the state.

- Rebecca Boone/AP

Governor race may not be known for days

Election results trickled in slowly in Nevada, leaving first-term Sisolak and his challenger, Lombardo, each predicting the outcome of the Nevada governor’s race wouldn’t be known for several days — with each man predicting he would win.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Republican candidate for governor of Nevada, greets supporters after speaking during an election night campaign event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

“We don’t know anything yet,” Lombardo told cheering supporters at a Republican party at a Las Vegas casino-resort. He noted he was also marking his 60th birthday, and called the race with Sisolak “razor thin.”

The last polling sites in the state closed in Las Vegas and Reno after 9 p.m. Tuesday, and Sisolak soon told election night supporters at the Encore resort on the Las Vegas Strip they could go home because the race was too close to call.

“We said it was going to be close and it is,” Sisolak said. ”We ask you to please be patient. We need to make sure every single vote is counted. When that job is done, I believe we’re going to win this thing.”

Lombardo said he anticipated success “in the next couple of days,” but told supporters “to be patient.”

The campaign was costly and contentious, with airwaves and the internet awash in recent weeks with ads sponsored by the candidates, their parties and political action committees aiming to amplify their differences.

- Ken Ritter/AP

Amodei easily reelected to 7th term

Six-term Republican Rep. Mark Amodei has defeated Elizabeth Mercedes Krause, as expected, in Nevada’s rural northern district where no Democrat has ever won.

The 2nd Congressional District was considered the only safe seat for either party among the four in the western battleground of Nevada, where three incumbent Democrats faced stiff challenges. All three of those races were too early to call early Wednesday.

Voting officials in the two most populous counties, encompassing the population centers of Las Vegas and Reno, warned it would take days to process mail-in ballots that can be counted for four days after Election Day as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday.

A person holds up a sign at a Republican election night watch party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Amodei, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has carried at least 58% of the vote since he won his first full term in a special election in 2011. His sprawling district includes Reno, Sparks and Carson City, as well as rural areas across the state from south of Lake Tahoe to north of Elko.

Krause, the chairwoman of the Nevada Native Caucus and a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, was largely unknown and woefully underfunded.

Three Democratic incumbents in Nevada were trying to hold their congressional seats in key races Republicans have targeted nationally in their bid to seize the majority in the U.S. House.

- Scott Sonner/AP

Sondra Cosgrove, history professor, College of Southern Nevada; Elliot Malin, Republican political strategist;  Fred Lokken, political science professor, Truckee Meadows Community College; Hugh Jackson, editor, The Nevada Current 

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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.
Zachary Green is the Coordinating Producer and a Reporter for KNPR's State of Nevada Program. He reports on Clark County, minority affairs, health, real estate, business, and gardening. You'll occasionally hear Zachary Green reporting and fill-in hosting on the State of Nevada program.
Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.
Paul serves as KNPR's producer and reporter in Northern Nevada. Based in Reno, Paul specializes in covering state government and the legislature.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the audience engagement specialist for Nevada Public Radio. She curates content on, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.