I have to give credit where credit is due. Nevada has to be the sanest “red” state around. Our outgoing GOP Governor, Brian Sandoval was one of the first to accept the Medicaid expansion, didn’t gut education, and won his reelection in 2014 70-24%. He has also left voting pretty much alone, odd for a GOP Governor in a state that has had a nasty habit of going for Democratic Presidential candidates lately.
Are you ready for this? I didn’t even have to show an ID when I checked in. I gave the woman my name, and verified my address. When it matched, she had me provide a sample signature with a stylus. Nevada has an electronic signature match program, when the system matched my crappy electronic stylus pen prescription script chicken scratch to my original signature on my registration form, she handed me the voting slide card for the machine, and off I went. This is the way that voting in this country is supposed to be.
Yesterday was the third day of early voting in Nevada, which traditionally starts on a Saturday, and ends on the Friday before the election. We vote at the Galleria Mall in Henderson. We love voting there because of easy access, and also because they use almost the entire 1st floor west atrium as a polling place, with 50-60 machines, and 10-12 poll workers to check people in,
Two years ago, in the Presidential year of 2016, we also went in on the third day of early voting, in the early afternoon. We walked in through the north entrance of Kohl’s, through the store, and out into the atrium, where the voting booths were cordoned off. We walked halfway up the side before we hit a line with about a 6 minute wait to get to the check in desk. We were in and out in about 15 minutes or less.
We followed the identical script yesterday, getting there at 12:10. This time there was no line at all along the side of the booths, but when we got to the front, there was a line. A long line. It stretched from the check in desk all the way to the south entrance of the mall. The picture above was taken about ¼ of the way through the line, and you can’t even see the check in desk. We had to wait about 35 minutes to get to the check in desk. A six fold wait time increase, in a midterm election year, in the early afternoon on a Monday. Turnout in Nevada doesn’t seem to be much of a problem so far.
This is why I’m so encouraged. If you look at a map of Nevada, it is a sea of red, with a blue Rohrshak blot in the southern tip. That blot is Clark county, home of Las Vegas, and most of the incorporated suburbs of Southern Nevada. It’s also the stronghold of the Democratic leaning unions that cover many of the hotel, casino, and restaurant and bar workers of party central. How strong are the unions in Las Vegas? Strong enough that most large hotel-casinos on the Strip have their own, employees only, polling places, and the employees get an extra break to go and vote. There are a couple of small blue dots scattered throughout the rest of the state, and a larger, purple blob up around Reno.
The secret to Democratic electoral success in Nevada is simple. You scrape out every, last, single Democratic vote from Clark county, lean like hell on the little blue dots, and peel off enough blue votes in the Reno area to win the statewide vote totals. It just ain’t all that complicated, folks.
Here’s a historical example. In his last reelection bid in 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was dead in the water. He was running against Sharron “2nd amendment remedy” Angle. You remember her, she’s the one who made a national laughingstock out of herself by telling a rally crowd that people should barter chickens for healthcare with their doctor. Even the famously undependable Nevada polling had Reid down 5 points the week before election. But even in a disastrous midterm year for Democrats, Clark county cracked the whip,, people decided at the last minute that Sharron Angle was too stupid to trust with anything sharper that string, and Reid won by 3 points. The last RCP aggregate poll I saw last week had Jacky Rosen up 3.5 on Dean Heller. But those ain’t votes, are they?
The intensity is there. The enthusiasm is there. The clarity of purpose is there. I just saw it yesterday. But all of the intensity, enthusiasm, and purpose in the world don’t mean jack if we don’t get “souls to the polls.” Remind your parents, remind your friends, remind your coworkers. Hell, remind the mailman . 14 freakin’ days. Work in this life, party in the next one.
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