56 percent of total NV voters already cast ballots

RENO - More than 700,000 Nevadans cast ballots during early voting in advance of Tuesday's general election, with nearly 50,000 more Democrats than Republicans voting in the battleground state.

Fifty-six percent of the state's 1.2 million registered voters took advantage of the two-week window for early voting that ended Friday night, Secretary of State Ross Miller said Saturday.

That's up from the 53.7 percent turnout during early voting in the 2008 general election when a total of nearly 650,000 Nevadans cast ballots early, he said.

"The numbers for early voting are very high," Miller said. "Since I've been in office (2007), the early voting numbers have gone up every election cycle."

Miller expects an overall voter turnout of 80 percent in Nevada because of tight races between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

A total of nearly 308,000 Democrats, or 44 percent of all early voters, already have cast ballots, compared with nearly 260,000 Republicans, or 37 percent. About 134,000 voters not registered with the parties account for the rest.

Republican political consultant Jim Denton of Henderson said the numbers bode well for Obama. He noted Democrats comfortably outpaced the GOP in early voting in Clark County around Las Vegas, and held their own in Washoe County around Reno. Democrats also hold a 90,000 voter registration edge over Republicans statewide.

"I think the early voting numbers are bad news for Romney," Denton told The Associated Press. "It says to me that Obama wins the state ... There's not enough votes in the rest of the state for Romney to carry it. I think Obama wins by between 6 and 8 percent in Nevada."

Miller also announced Saturday that his office investigated nine complaints from voters concerning problems with voting machines.

The complaints were lodged after the Republican National Committee on Thursday alleged voting machines in Nevada and five other states are flawed and improperly showing voters choosing Obama when they thought they had selected Romney.

Miller said all nine voters voiced similar complaints but included both Obama and Romney supporters. All nine were able to eventually cast ballots for the candidate of their choice after fixing the problem on their own or getting help.

The secretary of state held a demonstration Saturday at a polling place in Las Vegas designed to show voting machines are reliable and cannot be pre-programmed.

"We dealt with these rumors before in 2010, and we know we won't be able to debunk every rumor," Miller told the AP. "But we want to share with the public that the machines work fine and votes will be counted fairly and accurately."


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