Polls have closed in Nevada’s first presidential primaries in decades — eerily quiet contests, with in-person turnout appearing to be light and the major candidates opting to be somewhere else.
Counties will report an initial batch of votes and then update their tallies on a rolling basis throughout the evening, according to the secretary of state’s office.
On the Republican side, the winner of Tuesday’s vote will not receive any delegates. Those will go to the winner of the caucuses on Thursday.
Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is the only Republican candidate who was on the primary ballot who is still in the race. Former President Donald J. Trump will compete in the caucus on Thursday, and is saving his next stop in the state until then.
Some Republican voters had struggled to keep up with the confusing dual-contest system, which allows them to participate in both the primary and the caucuses. One voter appeared at a polling place in Las Vegas eager to vote for Mr. Trump, only to discover that the former president was not on the ballot.
“If he’s not in it, I’m not going in,” said Esther Sko, before getting back into her car and driving off.
Ms. Haley, who has not campaigned in Nevada and whose campaign said the process was “rigged for Trump,” attended fund-raisers in California. She will hold a rally in Santa Monica, Calif. on Wednesday — a sign that she is looking ahead to Super Tuesday, when Californians will head to the polls.
President Biden competed in Nevada’s Democratic contest, where he is all but certain to win as the incumbent. He spent Tuesday in Washington, although he did appear in Nevada over the weekend for a rally where he highlighted the campaign promises he had made to Black and Latino Americans. On Monday, he visited with members of an influential Nevada union and grabbed boba tea in Las Vegas’s Chinatown — all signs that he is aware that the diverse battleground state will be crucial in the fall.
Between the split format on the G.O.P. side and the new primary’s allowing of early and mail-in votes, in-person voting appeared to be somewhat low on Tuesday. But turnout expectations have been hard to set, because this is the first year that presidential primaries have taken place in Nevada since state legislators voted in 2021 to require them after decades of holding caucuses.
More than 150,000 people cast ballots ahead of the primary via early in-person voting, absentee voting and mail-in ballots, according to reports from the Nevada secretary of state’s office. More than 93,000 Democrats voted, compared with about 58,000 Republicans.