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It’s (un)official

“Every vote counts and every vote has not been counted.”

That was the wisdom nugget dropped by Boulder City Clerk Tami McKay on Wednesday morning after Tuesday’s primary election, which included a number of local races.

While multiple candidates appeared at that point to have cleared the “more than 50%” hurdle that would allow them to avoid a runoff in November, most of the races remain too close to call.

The partisan primaries are simple. What’s known is that Democratic incumbent Jackie Rosen will face off against Republican challenger Sam Brown for Nevada’s junior U.S. Senate seat. In addition, Democratic incumbent Dina Titus (who was unopposed) will face off, again, against Republican Mark Robertson. Simple.

The ostensibly non-partisan races get a lot more complicated because a candidate who gets more than half of the vote can avoid a runoff and win outright in what is billed as a primary election.

Using that formula, it would appear, as of the latest update from Clark County election officials, that Chris Tilman will be the next justice of the peace for Boulder Township with 1,956 votes out of 3,794 cast or 51.56%.

But, not so fast.

While Tilman’s lead is probably enough to hold, there are —as McKay pointed out —votes still to be counted.

The current totals — which were last updated at 11:12 p.m. on Tuesday night —include the following:

■ All ballots cast during the early voting period

■ All ballots cast at polling places by 7 p.m. Tuesday

■ All mail ballots received as of Tuesday morning

The totals do not include ballots placed in dropboxes on Election Day or mail ballots postmarked by Election Day but not received before Tuesday morning.

In races where the lead is a single percentage point, there is a real possibility that the ballots not yet included in the unofficial results could tip the outcome.

In the case of Boulder City council races it is even more complicated.

There are two open council seats, with seven candidates running to fill them. If one or more candidates manage to get a majority, they would be elected and not have to run again in November. But that majority applies to ballots cast, not votes cast. Because voters could vote for two candidates out of the seven and, further, because not every voter will actually cast two votes, those numbers might not line up at first glance.

According to the most recent county count, 6,792 votes were cast for city council. Total ballots cast were 3,938.

Based on those numbers, it appears that incumbent Sherri Jorgensen may avoid a runoff. Jorgensen has 2,110 votes or 53.58%. Candidate Denise Ashurst is currently just shy of that with 1,967 votes or 49.95%.

If the current percentages hold when all votes are counted, then Jorgensen would continue on the council for another four years and Ashurst would face current incumbent Matt Fox in a November runoff.

If Jorgensen’s percentage slips below 50%, then the November ballot would be for two seats and would include four names with Dan Patterson joining the fold.

If Ashurst’s percentage creeps up just a little bit, she and Jorgensen could both win now and there would be no local council vote in November.

McKay pointed out that since Nevada went to a fully mail-in election system in 2020, results can take a while to be official. It no longer happens on Election Day. Election officials have until June 17 to “cure” mail ballots (i.e., do things like contact a voter who may have submitted a ballot without, say, a signature or a date). The actual official results will be made, well, official at a special meeting of the city council scheduled for June 21.

The Review will reach out to all leading candidates for comment in a story slated to run next week.

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