Democrats have gotten off to a good start in Nevada, as several thousand more ballots were cast during the first 24 hours of early voting in the battleground state over the weekend than during the opening day four years ago, The Washington Post reports.
The vast majority of the early voting is coming from areas known to support Democrats, as the party's machine is well-organized to target such voters and bring them out to the polls.
It is estimated that some 60 percent of the overall ballots will be cast before Nov. 8 in Nevada, during which the Democrats in recent election cycles have run up the score to make it difficult for the Republicans to overcome the deficit on Election Day.
This is thanks in large part to the well-oiled political machine built up by retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid over the past decades, and could be crucial in helping Hillary Clinton win the state and its potentially important six electoral votes, as well as Democratic Senatorial candidate Catherine Cortez Masto triumph in her battle against Republican nominee Rep. Joe Heck.
The latest surveys, however, show a tight race in both contests. The presidential race has been back-and-forth throughout the campaign, although the latest Monmouth University poll shows that Clinton has taken a 7 percentage point lead over Republican candidate Donald Trump after being behind by 2 percentage points just last month.
On the other hand, the crucial race for the Senate, in which the Democrats need to pick up four seats to capture the upper chamber if Clinton wins the presidency, has remained fairly steady, with the latest poll showing Rep. Heck continues to hang on to a narrow 3 percentage point advantage over Cortez Masto.
One of the foundations of the Reid machine is the support of unions, where campaign speeches before members included free lunch and a shuttle bus to the nearest early voting polling location, the Post reports.
Democrats also targeted the Latino community by hosting a block party on Saturday in the parking lot of a mall that has an early voting site. Free food and music were offered, as well as activities for the children as adults were directed into the mall to cast their ballots.
Another pillar of the Democratic early voting effort has been door-to-door canvasing in which volunteers are instructed on techniques how to get as many people to the polling stations as possible, as well as appealing to church members at services on Sunday.
Democrats have also been utilizing star power, such as the visit by President Barack Obama on Sunday for a rally primarily aimed at bringing out the black vote.
All of this completely outshines the efforts of the Republican campaign to bring out the early vote, with GOP operatives acknowledging to the Post the advantage this gives the Democrats.
A major Republican concern is that if Trump loses decisively in the East and television networks declare Clinton the winner before polls even close in Nevada, enough Republicans could decide it's not worth it to stand in line to vote and thus cost Rep. Heck a victory in the Senate race, as well as other Republicans down ticket.
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