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High turnout meant long lines at some Nevada polling spots

November 7, 2018
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People vote at the Enterprise Library, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Joe Buglewicz)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Some polling places in Nevada were plagued with long lines of voters, some waiting for hours before they could get inside to cast their ballots. The lines were so long that polls in some places had to stay open about three hours after they were to have officially closed so everyone got their chance to cast a ballot.

The longest lines were in the state’s Washoe County, which includes Reno, one of the state’s largest cities.

Nevada’s deputy elections director, Wayne Thorley, said the long waits were driven by higher-than-usual turnout propelled by some high-profile races. The state doesn’t announce results for any statewide races until all the polls are closed, and elections officials were bracing for a long night ahead of them to tabulate the results.

Thorley told The Associated Press that there were very few reported problems at the polls. “Just long lines and lots of voter enthusiasm,” he said.

Elections officials in Nevada’s largest counties were reporting high turnout throughout the day. Washoe County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula reported unusually strong turnout for a midterm election in her northern Nevada county with turnout reaching around 70 percent.

That compares with 52 percent in the 2014 midterm election, and 79 percent in the presidential election in 2016.

Washoe County accounts for about 17 percent of Nevada’s statewide vote. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has 70 percent of statewide active voters.

At the Washoe County Library in downtown Reno, Brenda Owens, the library’s branch manager, told the Reno Gazette Journal that there were “people in line all day” with it extending at one point outside the entrance to the building.

“It’s been steady all day,” she said, adding: “We really didn’t expect to see this many people here because of early voting.”

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