Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

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Story on delay in results got it right

Clark County said the Sun misled, but the county was wrong


Sam Morris

At 11:17:06 p.m., approaching stage: Congresswoman-elect Dina Titus greets supporters on the way to giving her victory speech Tuesday night. The digital time stamp on this photograph records the exact moment the picture was made.

Clark County called out the Las Vegas Sun Thursday on its “Setting the Record Straight” Web page, grousing that our story about delayed election results Tuesday was “misleading and deceptive.”

The county’s public relations apparatus also sent e-mail to Las Vegas news media “correcting” the Sun.

The Sun was not misleading or deceptive. Nor was it wrong. And we’re setting the record straight.

By both the county election chief’s admission in a letter to the Sun, and by time stamps on the Sun’s digital photos and e-mail, Wednesday’s Sun story was accurate.

The disagreement is over 16 minutes. We reported that there was an hourlong lag between updates of voting results late in the evening, when the outcomes of two highly contentious races were still unknown and tired celebrants were starting to leave the Democrats’ party.

The elections chief, Larry Lomax, said in his letter that the county updates its results every 45 minutes.

The county and the Sun agree there was an update at 10:30 p.m. The county claims the next results update came 44 minutes later, at 11:14. In his letter to the Sun, Lomax said he could have ordered an update at 11:04 p.m., but didn’t.

He wrote: “It is true I could have approved the release approximately 10 minutes earlier (than 11:14), but when I showed up for prescheduled interviews with two local TV stations, the interviews were delayed because (3rd Congressional District candidate) Dina Titus was giving her victory speech.”

Camera time stamps show that Titus was still approaching the stage at 11:17 p.m.

In the newsroom, Sun editors were madly hitting the “refresh” button on the county’s Web site to get the latest returns. New numbers finally came in at 11:31, according to an internal Sun e-mail.

The update may have been only 16 minutes behind schedule, but with so much attention given to two close races it seemed like an eternity.

If Lomax was crowing in those interviews, that was OK. Everything else on Election Day went remarkably smoothly.

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