The presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is tight in this southwestern state. Democrats expected to win Nevada, and Biden is leading Trump there — by just 0.64 percent — according to the latest numbers from Decision Desk as of 10 am ET Thursday. That number is unchanged from Wednesday afternoon. The votes are being counted in Nevada, but the totals have yet to be announced.
This is a narrow margin worth keeping an eye on. For context, Hillary Clinton beat Trump in Nevada by 2.4 points in 2016. Nevada state election officials are expected to announce more results around 12 pm ET Thursday. Though the Nevada secretary of state’s office doesn’t have estimates for the exact numbers of ballots left to be counted, here’s their latest update on what kinds of ballots are still being tallied.
Here’s what is left to count:— Nevada Elections (@NVElect) November 4, 2020
-Mail ballots received on Election Day
-Mail ballots that will be received over the next week
Ballots outstanding is difficult to estimate in Nevada because every voter was sent a mail ballot. Obviously, not all will vote.
Vox is carrying live results, powered by our friends at Decision Desk.
Nevada is mirroring a pattern we’re seeing in many other critical states. Trump appeared ahead in the state’s returns on Tuesday night, powered in large part by strong Republican turnout for Nevada’s in-person vote. But political observers in the state note that could be a “red mirage,” with absentee ballots that are tilted heavily toward Democrats yet to be counted.
As Vox’s Jen Kirby recently wrote, this is the reason the votes may have looked different on Tuesday night compared to Wednesday:
It could look like Trump and other Republican candidates are on the verge of winning in some states on election night, only for Biden and Democrats to surge ahead after more mail-in ballots are counted. Or, Biden and Democrats could look like they’re poised for big upsets in some states, only to see those leads slipping away.
Here’s how Nevada Independent political reporter Megan Messerly summarized the situation in the state.
No shenanigans here, it just has to do with voting behavior. We know more Republicans than Democrats voted in-person on Election Day. We know more Democrats voted by mail. It’s just a math game at this point.— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) November 4, 2020
Jon Ralston, the dean of the Nevada political press corps, estimated that Democratic voters voted by mail two to one in Nevada, and most of the outstanding ballots that still need to be counted are mail ballots. As Messerly said, the situation in Nevada is a “math game at this point,” and it’s one that so far appears to favor Biden.
It also matters where these outstanding ballots are coming from. According to Ralston, those votes are coming from Clark County, which includes Nevada’s largest city, Las Vegas, and is a heavily Democratic area in the state.
Ralston estimated there are anywhere between 50,000 and 60,000 votes yet to be counted in Clark County, plus a few thousand outstanding votes in Washoe County.
Southwestern states like Nevada and Arizona are key ingredients for one of Biden’s paths to 270 electoral votes. He’s leading in Nevada, and some networks have already called Arizona for him. Vox’s partner Decision Desk hasn’t yet called the race for Biden in Arizona; he’s ahead there by more than 2 points, but that lead is narrowing, and the state could flip.
Biden’s team seems to feel confident about Nevada, but we still have to wait a little longer to know the final results.
Finally, here’s how Vox (and other media outlets) will be making calls.