Democrats increase edge over Republicans as election nears

CARSON CITY - The slight registration edge that Nevada Democrats managed to get a year ago, after a 4-year GOP majority, has climbed from just 122 to 4,561 voters.

Figures released Tuesday by the secretary of state's office show that as of the end of September there were 400,986 registered Democrats and 396,425 registered Republicans.

While the Democrats have increased their lead, on a percentage basis it's tough to use voter registration as a gauge of possible results Nov. 7 in statewide races: with 41.6 percent of the vote, the Democrats are just 0.6 percent higher than the Republicans.

The new figures show a total 964,764 Nevada voters registered to cast ballots. In addition to the main parties, there are 138,707 nonpartisans, 18,671 Independent Americans, 5,529 Libertarians, 1,351 Greens, 745 Natural Law and 810 Reform Party members. The remaining 1,983 are listed as ''other.''

A breakdown shows Nevada's Las Vegas-based Congressional District 1 remains heavily Democratic - 194,127 to 145,002 Republicans. The district includes the core of Las Vegas and parts of Henderson and North Las Vegas.

In Nevada's Congressional District 2, which includes the rest of the state, Republicans outnumber Democrats 251,423 to 206,859.

On a county-by-county basis, Clark County, encompassing Las Vegas, has a total of 282,028 Democrats and 239,750 Republicans.

In Washoe County, including the Reno-Sparks area, the pattern is reversed: 81,675 Republicans and 66,693 Democrats.

The two counties have 84 percent of all registered voters in the state.

The remaining 15 counties, accounting for 16 percent of the vote, include 12 with Republican majorities - notably Douglas County where GOPs outnumber Democrats by 2-to-1. Elsewhere in rural Nevada, Democrats have an edge only in Lincoln, Mineral and White Pine counties.

The slight registration bulge for the Democrats bears out what Republican Secretary of State Dean Heller has said - they may have done a better job than the GOP with their get-out-the-vote efforts in Nevada.

A big part of the effort this election season was directed at potential absentee voters. Republicans sent out neatly printed cards that can be mailed in to get absentee balloting forms - but voters have to use their own stamps. Democrats sent out similar cards - postage-paid.


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