Saturday marked the beginning of Nevada’s two week early voting period. It is expected that by the end of the early voting period, the majority of Nevada residents who are going to vote in this election will have cast their ballot. In 2008, 67 percent of voters turned out early or voted absentee. Due to this high turnout, the election in Nevada is likely to be decided in these two weeks before November 6.
Both campaigns understand the importance of this early voting period and have different tactics to maximize voter turnout. The Obama campaign is focusing on motivating their strong base in Nevada to go to the polls while the Romney campaign is looking to the large number of independent and moderate voters that have begun to favor former Governor Mitt Romney in the past weeks. Both campaigns understand the importance of the voter turnout metrics, as the media and voters will scrutinize the numbers for signs of strength or signals of weakness. A fall in turnout for either party can serve as an indicator of a loss of momentum or act as a prod to move more voters to the polls.
Let’s take a closer look at how each campaign is attempting to capitalize on this crucial two week period:
Democratic spokesman, Zac Petkanas, said of the Democrat strategy during this two week period, “We’re moving into the final phase of the campaign where we’re delivering the message to the voters we’ve identified after more than a year of work that Nevada is a swing state, the election is going to be close, their vote matters, and with early voting it’s never been easier to make their voice heard in support of President Obama, Shelley Berkley and Democrats down the ticket.”
Republicans too are starting a final push of campaigning during these last two weeks. In the coming days, busloads of Republicans will arrive in the state from California and Utah to help with the turn out effort. Democrats from bordering states also will arrive to motivate Democratic voters in the state’s turnout effort.
Republican spokesman Darren Little spoke of this final campaigning phase, “We are transitioning from our voter ID phase to our get-out-the-vote phase. The past several months, we’ve focused on identifying supporters of Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan, and we have an idea now who those folks are and where they live. We’ll make sure they get out and vote, vote early and then come back in and volunteer.”
Republicans argue that they have beaten the Democratic voter registration advantage by their advantage in absentee ballot requests throughout the state. As of Friday 80,000 absentee ballots had been requested throughout the state. Republicans say they are over performing Democrats by 7 points in absentee ballot requests.
What do Democrats say to this? Democratic strategists say that absentee voting makes up 9 percent of the turnout, which is not enough to swing an advantage in early voting and Election Day turnout.
This will be an exciting two weeks in Nevada as both parties are in their final push of campaigning hoping to maximize voter turnout.