On March 24, 2020, the Nevada Secretary of State announced that the June 9 primary election would be an all-mail election. As with many other states that facilitated an increase in mail-in voting, Nevada relied on Covid-19 as the rationale for encouraging people to vote from home, despite leading health officials stating that voting at polls would be safe.
Various Democratic groups went to court requesting an order for Nevada to mail ballots to all registered voters, including inactive voters. The Clark County (Las Vegas) Registrar of Voters did not wait for a court order and sent out primary election ballots to both active and inactive voters. The unsurprising result was that 223,469 (17%) unsolicited ballots were returned as undeliverable. For some perspective, general elections in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 yielded a total of 5,863 undeliverable mail ballots across the entire state of Nevada.
After the primary elections, the Nevada State Legislature enacted AB4 which allowed for unsolicited mail-in ballots to be used across the state. The vote was 13-8, strictly along partisan lines and over objections by Republicans. AB4 did not remove the requirement that people rather than machines verify mail-in ballots. Much of the general election litigation stems from the resulting flooding of precincts with ballots and signature verification errors from incorrect usage of the Agilis Ballot Sorting system.
In 2020, 47% of Nevadans voted by mail, up from 7% in 2016. After 100% of precincts finished reporting, Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump was about 34,000 votes or 2.4 percentage points.