Legal challenges and accusations of fraud are just a couple of the issues seeding doubt about a clear winner in the presidential race on Election Day.
“My advice for voters this year is patience,” said Ken Miller, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
According to Miller, news networks may be more uncertain this year about calling a winner on election night since counting up ballots in key states may go on longer than usual.
That shouldn’t undermine the integrity of the election process, Miller said, but it may add fuel to President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated argument that absentee voting and early voting are susceptible to fraud.
“We have in an incumbent, someone who’s been trying to undermine the integrity of absentee voting and other forms of early voting, and so, this would give him more leverage with that type of messaging,” Miller said.
In the Mountain West, one lawsuit is complicating things further. The Trump administration is challenging the legitimacy of the mail-ballot validation process in Nevada’s most populous county.
“Our goal is to have real voters voting in this election. We want to make sure there’s no fraud,” said Adam Laxalt with the Trump campaign.
The campaign and Nevada Republicans assert that Clark County election officials’ oversight on voter signatures is lacking. They want the county to submit a new plan that allows for "meaningful observation" during the signature verification process.
A judge rejected the request to stop ballot counting outright but will hold a hearing on the lawsuit this week. Pausing the count could delay results in the battleground state.
Early voting this year is eclipsing 2016 numbers in much of the region.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.