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Election Day Update From Spanish Springs, Nev.


On this election morning, we are checking in with our reporters around the country. Millions of voters have already cast their ballots by mail or early, but millions more are expected to turn out at the polls today as well. And we're going to turn now to Nevada. Paul Boger of member station KUNR is at a polling place in Spanish Springs, Nev. Paul, good morning.

PAUL BOGER, BYLINE: Good morning.

GREENE: Did I get your last name right?

BOGER: Absolutely.

GREENE: OK, good. I wanted to make sure. Tell me about Spanish Springs. Where exactly are you? And what kind of community is it?

BOGER: So Spanish Springs is a suburban community just north of Sparks in Washoe County. That's the northern county where Reno is in Nevada, and it's the second-most populated county in the state behind Las Vegas and Clark County. And what we're seeing is - and what we're seeing today is a lot of - people are standing in line. It's a long line. Polls just opened about 30 minutes ago. And there's roughly already about 100 people standing in line. They're all socially distanced.

You know, this is a suburban community in northern Nevada, which is already white, so it's a very white line in general. I see a lot of white folks here, so not very many minorities. And talking to them, you're hearing a lot of the issues that have been brought up in suburban communities across the country. But we don't have a good sense of how many people are going to be voting today because just so many people have voted early.

I spoke to assistant registrar Heather Carmen just a few minutes ago, and she says that - exactly that; they just don't know.

HEATHER CARMEN: We've actually seen quite a few of our voters already cast a ballot for early voting, or they've done their mail-in ballots. So we've gotten quite a turnout. So for Election Day, I'm not sure how many people we're actually going to see, seeing as how we've already had a 70% turnout rate.

GREENE: But you're saying...

BOGER: So you can see - yeah.

GREENE: ...You are seeing some crowds there, right? I mean, it's - people did seem to want to come out and actually vote on voting day itself because we've heard, you know, while the numbers have been extraordinary for early voting, there are a lot of people who wanted to be there in person and do it like they normally do.

BOGER: And you're absolutely right. So the folks I spoke to this morning, they're the voters who have been mistrustful of the mail-in process. Earlier this year, the Legislature here revamped the state's elections and moved to all mail-in because of the pandemic - or tried to move to a mostly mail-in, I should say. But a lot of folks are still here wanting to vote in person. One of them is Linda Thompson (ph). She is a Trump supporter, and she, very frankly, thinks this is a great sign for the president.

LINDA THOMPSON: Ambush - getting here with all of us - a silent majority. Actually, I'm a loud majority. But I wanted to be here, vote in person and ambush and watch my president walk away with every bit of it.

BOGER: And that's exactly what you're hearing from the voters. They think that a vast majority of the Democrats have already come out, they've already cast ballots by mail or they came out for early voting, so it's just Republicans left, and they're going to come out in droves today for the president.

GREENE: Well, I mean, obviously, we'll see people in droves. But then the early votes will be counted, and we'll see where things go. It does sound, though, that President Trump was making Nevada a last-minute target. I mean, Hillary Clinton beat him there four years ago, but are you getting the sense that this could be closer than the parties might have thought, initially?

BOGER: Well, I would argue that Republicans in the state have always, at least since the last election, seen Nevada as a possible pickup in 2020. So they have targeted Nevada. They've been very strategic, reaching out to rural communities, reaching out to northern communities, and trying to consolidate their vote to hold off blue Clark County. So what you're seeing is exactly that, and I think it's going to be a really interesting day.

GREENE: All right. Paul Boger of member station KUNR in Reno talking to us from the polls as they open in Nevada this morning. Paul, thanks so much.

BOGER: Absolutely. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Paul Boger
Paul grew up in Phoenix and earned his B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Troy University in Alabama where he worked as a producer, editor and local host for Troy Public Radio. Paul then spent several years at Mississippi Public Broadcasting as the legislative and education reporter. His work there was featured on several NPR newscasts, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, PBS Newshour and the BBC. He’s also collaborated with the NPR Ed and the Southern Education Desks on stories that have aired across the Southeast. That work has earned Paul several Mississippi AP Broadcasters Association Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award.