Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2018

Currently: 65° — Complete forecast

Sun editorial:

Southern Nevada is energized for elections

It’s not quite time to take a bow yet, but Clark County voters have definitely earned a big round of applause for their turnout so far in this year’s midterm elections.

The county set a record Saturday for the first day of early voting, with 30,436 local residents casting their ballots. That was nearly 80 percent more than the previous midterm record of 17,057, set in 2010.

But better yet, it wasn’t just a one-day phenomenon. Another 23,741 voters took advantage of early voting Sunday, for a total of 54,177 over the weekend.

Bravo, Southern Nevada. The opening-weekend turnout was reminiscent of a chant heard often at political demonstrations: This is what democracy looks like!

That’s increasingly been the case in the past couple of years, as the region has grown out of a reputation for being politically apathetic. Turnout was spirited for the 2016 election, and activism has been on display several times in the community since then in rallies for gender equality, gun safety, immigration rights and other causes. Perhaps most important, many activists are urging voters to turn out to ensure that we have a Congress that will provide a needed check on President Donald Trump’s wild behavior.

Now, let’s keep it up.

If you’re considering sitting out this year’s election, please know that your vote does indeed count. Many races are determined by a few thousand votes, so it’s important for voters to come to the polls.

Remember too that Trump’s Electoral College victory in 2016 came down to a combined margin of 77,744 votes in three critical battleground states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Considering that more than 136 million votes were cast, that was a margin of just over 1/20th of 1 percent. Another way to look at it: The presidency was determined by a crowd smaller than you’d find at many college football games.

So make no mistake: Participation matters.

In addition, voting is easier than ever in Clark County, thanks to the efforts of state and local officials. Those interested in voting early can do so at any of 96 sites throughout the county, where 172 voting centers will be open on Election Day. Better yet, the county has done away with its precinct balloting model, so voting can be done at any site.

The Las Vegas Sun will continue publishing that list through the early voting period.

We’re off to a roaring start to the midterms in Southern Nevada. If we keep it up, we can really make some noise in determining the direction of our state and our nation.