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Who Could Turn Out To Vote In Nevada Midterm Election?

The photo is the front of the Nevada State Legislature buidling in Carson City, Nevada.
Alexa Ard
The Nevada State Legislature could become the first female-majority statehouse in the country.

Several factors could shape the upcoming midterm election in Nevada. The Nevada Secretary of State announced earlier this week that there are slightly more than 1.5 million active registered voters, a record-breaking number.

Currently, Democrats are close to having 70,000 more registered voters than Republicans, accounting for a nearly five-point lead. The Silver State could also make history as the first female-majority led statehouse.

KUNR’s Anh Gray checks in with a Truckee Meadows Community College Political Science Professor Precious Hall to learn how this election could play out.

Typically, midterm elections tend to have low voter turnout, but some political analysts are predicting an energized Democratic base, voting in record numbers and creating what’s called a “blue wave” across the nation. While the Silver State has the reputation as a swing state, Hall says, “Nevada, over the last couple of elections, has steadily become more blue.” She points out that during the 2016 election, Secretary Hillary Clinton carried Nevada, and the state also turned blue for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

Republicans are also energized for the midterm elections in Nevada and have a lot at stake. Senator Dean Heller is up for re-election. He's the only Republican senator defending his seat in a state that Hillary Clinton won.

“The Republicans are definitely trying their best to register more voters,” Hall explains. “Because at the end of the day, it comes down to the voters. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on an election or how much money you spend on a campaign, if you can’t turn out the voters to come out and support your candidate, it’s not going to happen.”

Another voting bloc that could potentially shape the 2018 elections around the country and in Nevada  is women voters. While some are calling this the “pink wave,” Hall says this historic moment can be better characterized as the “year of the woman.”

Around the country, a record number of women will appear on general election ballots in congressional and Senate races. Hall says that while more women are getting politically engaged,  women voters have been shaping elections.

“Women were instrumental, not only in the elections, but particularly for Donald Trump,” Hall says. “You had a lot of women, particularly conservative, who were voting in support of their husbands, so the women’s vote has always been crucial.”

Througout the Trump administration, there have been numerous protests championing women’s rights and equality issues. Women came out in unprecedented numbers the day after the Trump's inauguration to participate in the 2017 Women’s March. In Nevada, women in politics, in particular, will take center stage come election night. The state could make history as the first female-majority led statehouse in the nation.

Women currently make up 40% of the lawmakers serving in the state's capital. After women won a record number of state primary elections in June, the number of women serving in the state legislature could jump to two-thirds, depending on how November's election turns out.

Hall says Nevada has already been leading the country with a substantial number of female state lawmakers compared to other parts of the nation.

“I think one of the things that’s particularly important for Nevada voters to understand is that Nevada has consistently been in the top five for the number of female representatives they have," Halls explains. "To become a majority isn’t that big of a step. We’re averaging about 40% of females making up our state legislature, so to get to that critical 51% is really going to come down to a matter of about five races, four in very competitive districts, but it’s certainly not impossible.”

The last day for online voter registration is October 18th. Early voting this year runs from October 20th to November 2nd. Election Day is November 6th. For more information about voter registration, please click here.

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.
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