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No 'Faithless Electors' Allowed: NV's 6 Votes to be Cast Today

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Monday, December 14, 2020   

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The Electoral College meets today, and Nevada's six electoral votes are set to go to President-elect Joe Biden, despite attempts by the Trump campaign to overturn the results.

The process is a reminder that when voters go to the polls, they're not voting for president, but for a slate of electors who gather in December to vote in the Electoral College.

The number of electoral votes a state has depends on its population. And 32 states including Nevada have laws on the books that require electors to vote how the state votes.

David Damore, professor of political science at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, said they can't change that.

"Basically, you can't be a faithless elector," Damore explained. "In Nevada, you have to vote with the popular vote winner, which in this case, obviously, it was Joe Biden here."

Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 30,000 votes in the Silver State, or just over 2%, a similar margin to 2016, when Hillary Clinton carried Nevada. There was much higher turnout this cycle. Nearly 300,000 more Nevadans voted than last time.

Nevada election officials have been the target of unsuccessful lawsuits from the Trump campaign, alleging voter fraud and election mismanagement without evidence.

All registered voters received ballots in the mail for the first time, and by design, vote-by-mail slows down the counting process.

Damore noted that gave the Trump campaign time to stoke confusion. But Biden got 7 million more votes than the president nationwide, and he's set to win by 74 electoral votes.

"You have to win less populated states that take up big parts of the map," Damore observed. "And that's what Biden did that Clinton didn't do four years ago by taking those, the upper Midwest states."

After electors cast their ballots in state houses today, they'll be sent to Vice President Pence in Washington. And on Jan. 6, the votes will be read and counted in Congress.

In 2019, Gov. Steve Sisolak vetoed a bill that would bring Nevada into the National Popular Vote Compact. Fifteen other states have joined. The compact needs 74 more electoral votes to reach 270, the minimum needed to win the presidency.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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