Election results will be updated by the Clark County Elections Department at about 4:30 p.m. today, but the tight legislative races in the 17th District will probably remain too close to call.
And if those races remain as tight as they are now, they will both require a recount, Clark County Elections Supervisor Tim Likness said.
Likness said he expects about 3,200 more ballots to be tallied today, meaning there would be about 5,500 ballots left to count, plus an estimated 200 or so that could still be on their way in the mail. On Tuesday, elections officials received 92 additional ballots, likely from overseas or military voters, Likness said.
The ballot-counting process has slowed this week as election officials have moved on to working with trickier ballots. Special attention must be paid to ballots that have write-in candidates or changed votes, ballots filled out using pencil or the wrong color ink, and ballots with suspect signatures.
“We did all the easy stuff last week, and we’re digging into the harder stuff this week,” Likness said.
In the 17th District Senate race, Democrat Tim Probst was leading Republican incumbent Don Benton by just 16 votes, according to preliminary election results that came out Friday. Those are the most recent results available.
Rather than seek election to a third House term, Probst ran to unseat Benton. More than $1.1 million was spent on the race by the candidates and their supporters.
In the race for Probst’s seat in the House of Representatives, Democrat Monica Stonier took the lead over Republican Julie Olson on Friday. Stonier was leading Olson by 81 votes.
Currently, Democrats hold a 27-22 majority in the Senate. If Benton wins, that Democratic majority would be knocked down to 26-23. The state House has a 56-42 Democratic majority.
If Friday’s results were the final results, a recount would commence for both legislative races, Likness said.
County election officials begin a recount in races that are closer than 2,000 votes and closer than one half of a percentage point, Likness said. On Friday, Benton had 49.91 percent of the vote while Probst had 49.94 percent of the vote. Olson had 49.88 percent of the vote, while Stonier had 50.04 percent.
Likness said that recount would likely begin during the first week of December. Election results aren’t certified until 21 days after an election, and the 17th District ballots must be separated from the rest of the county’s ballots.
Likness said he did not know how long each recount would take.
“We’ve never done a recount this big with our voting system,” he said.