Updated November 24, 2020 - 4:26 pm
The Nevada Supreme Court signed off on the state’s election results Tuesday, making President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state official, following numerous failed post-election court challenges that sought to delay or thwart the statutory move.
Though a few legal challenges are still pending, the court’s formal acceptance of the results from the Secretary of State’s office essentially closes the book on the 2020 election. It took less than half an hour of the court’s time Tuesday to conclude a routine matter in an election year that was anything but routine.
Nevada’s certification follows Michigan’s move to certify on Monday and Pennsylvania’s certification early Tuesday, and precedes Wisconsin’s and Arizona’s certifications later this week. All are states President Donald Trump lost on Nov. 3, and all are states where the Republican Party and the Trump campaign filed lawsuits challenging the outcome.
Officially, Trump lost Nevada to former Vice President Biden by 33,596 votes, or 2.39 percentage points. Biden won 703,486 votes to 669,690 for Trump.
The total state turnout of just over 1.4 million voters represented 77.3 percent of active voters; 47.7 percent voted by absentee ballot, 41.1 percent voted early, and 11.2 percent voted on Election Day. Mail-in ballots were sent to all active registered voters in the state under a law change that took into account the potential threat of the COVID-19 pandemic on in-person voting.
The 2020 turnout exceeded the level recorded during the 2016 presidential election when 76.8 percent of voters cast ballots.
By state law, the Supreme Court meets with the secretary of state on the fourth Tuesday in November to open and canvass the general election vote for various offices. In a presidential year, that includes votes for Nevada’s six presidential electors. It also includes ballot questions, federal officers, state officers elected statewide or by district, members of the state Legislature, district judges, and district officers whose districts span more than one county.
Following the canvass, the governor issues certificates of election to the winners and issues proclamations declaring them duly elected. In a statement Tuesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak said he would submit the so-called “Certification of Ascertainment” certifying that Biden’s Nevada presidential electors received the highest number of votes.
Issuing certificates for the scores of other winning candidates throughout the state “will likely take a significant period of time following today’s Supreme Court canvass,” he said.
A legal challenge filed by state Republicans and the Trump campaign is now scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 3 in Carson City District Court. The lawsuit seeks to reverse the outcome of the Nevada presidential election by invalidating tens of thousands of votes statewide. It relies on many of the same claims that other courts have previously rejected in similar lawsuits. The six people who serve as Republican electors are contesting the election outcome.
The meeting of state’s presidential electors is scheduled for Dec. 14.