Las Vegas Sun

March 20, 2019

Currently: 61° — Complete forecast

Nevada voter registration climbs as Democrats widen lead slightly

registering voters

Christopher DeVargas

Miguel Amaral, left, helps a voter fill out a registration form outside the DMV on East Sahara Avenue, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Amaral is a field registrar for Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan organization that encourages civic engagement among the Hispanic community.

Voter registration is ticking up in the month since the primary election, with Democrats increasing their lead statewide.

Democrats have widened their advantage in active voter registration since the primary by nearly 2,800, according to June numbers released Monday by the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. There were 562,166 Democrats and 496,472 Republicans actively registered to vote in June.

An edge in active voter registration does not automatically mean victory for Democrats, especially in midterm years when they tend to have lower turnout than Republicans. Democrats also had a statewide edge in active voter registration in 2014, ahead of a general election that was considered a “red wave” for Republicans.

Helen Kalla, Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman, said the focus is on increasing voter registration and then turning out as much of that expanded base as possible in the general election. Kalla said the party has had organizers on the ground since March working on voter registration and volunteer recruitment, among other tasks.

Keelie Broom, Nevada spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said that in 13 of 17 counties, Republicans registered more voters than Democrats. She said the group is building on its long-term ground game in Nevada, with neighborhood team leaders organizing voter registration efforts.

While Democrats have seen some month-to-month increases in their voter registration advantage this year, Broom said, Republicans narrowed the gap by more than 25,000 from June 2017 to June 2018.

Third-party and unaffiliated voters are also on the uptick in Nevada. Where nearly 283,000 fell into that category in June 2014, there are now more than 403,000 voters registered outside of the Republican and Democratic parties.

After the nearly 310,000 voters who registered as nonpartisans, most of those third-party or unaffiliated voters in June were in the Independent American Party. The group opposes federal land control.

Voter registration deadlines for the general election are in October.