Cameras Go Dark At Vote Counting Facility In Key Nevada County

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Nevada Republican Adam Laxalt’s lead over incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., has mysteriously shrunk to fewer than 9,000 votes as officials are still counting mail-in ballots in the state’s largest counties as of early Friday afternoon.

The latest updates from Clark and Washoe counties have put Laxalt just 8,988 votes over Cortez Masto, less than 1% of the total vote. Election officials said Wednesday that ballot counting will continue through next week, but the majority of the ballots could be counted by today, according to Fox News, who also reported:

“Officials explained that mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day but can arrive as late as Saturday to be counted. Election officials have been flooded with thousands of them since Tuesday as the margins between Cortez Masto and Laxalt remain tight.

More than 12,000 ballots from Clark County were counted Thursday night, helping Cortez Masto gain 3,285 votes on Laxalt. The city of Las Vegas resides within the county, and Democrats have a nearly 10-point advantage over Republicans in voter registration there. The Republican challenger’s lead grew by about 1,000 votes as ballots were counted from surrounding rural counties, but the gain was not enough to offset the mail-in votes for the Democratic senator.

Ballots are processed by bipartisan election workers at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on Nov. 10, 2022, in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Washoe County, the state’s second-most populous county, counted more than 18,000 ballots overnight Thursday and gave Cortez Masto a net gain of 4,817 votes against Laxalt. Democrats have strong support in Reno and Sparks, but the rest of the county leans Republican, making it competitive.

Officials in Clark County, Nevada’s most populous county, have said that Tuesday, Nov. 15, is the deadline to verify the mail-in ballots, while Nov. 17 is the latest date they will release the final results.

As the race stands now, Laxalt currently has 450,534 votes (48.97%) to be the next senator from Nevada, while Cortez Masto holds 441,546 votes (48%) for re-election with 90.2% of the vote reported.

And here is where something very interesting happened, according to the Epoch Times, who reported:

Cameras at the vote counting facility in a Nevada county still counting midterm election votes stopped broadcasting overnight, officials said on Nov. 10.

The livestream computer application that provides the feeds “lost connection with” the cameras at 11:24 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Bethany Drysdale, a spokesperson for Washoe County.

All staff members left for the night about an hour before the issue and none returned until 7 a.m. on Thursday morning, county officials said.

The connection was restored just before 8 a.m. on Nov. 10.

The Washoe County security administrator was said to have reviewed security cameras at the building, which run on a different system. The cameras showed that no person entered the ballot room or Registrar’s Office while the live feeds were cut off.

Security personnel are working to make that footage public.

A review of staff badges also indicated that no one entered the ballot room or office.

“In the future we will look for a solution that would prevent software disruptions or simply not offer a courtesy livestream feed,” Drysdale said in a statement. “Washoe County has been at the forefront of trying to innovate election transparency, but we have moved from an election night to a much longer election timeframe. The technology we are using to provide this livestream cannot keep up with these demands. We suggest enhancing transparency with security cameras rather than courtesy livestream cameras in future elections.”

Washoe County is among multiple counties in Nevada that have not yet completed tallying for the midterms, even though polls closed on Tuesday night.

Some 100,000 ballots, all cast by mail, remained uncounted as of Thursday afternoon, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. That included more than 50,000 ballots in Clark County.

State law requires election officials to count absentee ballots as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received by Sunday.

In the latest tranche of votes, reported Thursday by Washoe County and other jurisdictions, Democrats Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Nevada Secretary of State hopeful Francisco Aguilar gained more votes than their rivals, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Republican Jim Marchant, according to KOLO-TV.

Laxalt still leads Cortez Masto by about 9,000 votes while Aguilar has about 5,350 more votes than Marchant, according to results posted by the office of the Nevada Secretary of State.

Laxalt and the senator have each said they’re confident they will be the winner when the vote count is finally done.

That race could end up determining which party controls the Senate, which is currently split 50–50. Democrats can break ties through Vice President Kamala Harris, the president of the upper chamber.

Two other races—Arizona and Georgia, the latter heading to a runoff—remain uncalled. The race in Alaska is uncalled but Republicans have the top two vote-getters.

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