Early Vote Totals Set The Stage For Election Day Ground Game

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As Nevadans go to the polls Tuesday morning, more than half the potential votes are already sitting in county clerk and voter registrars' offices across the state, waiting to be counted.

In the past few weeks we've turned out in record numbers to vote early.
It's a real success story for the advocates of early voting and it's set the table for both parties' ground game efforts tomorrow.

There are $1 point 2 million active voters in the state and when early voting closed Friday 700,000 of them had cast ballots either at early voting locations or by absentee or mail-in ballots. That's nearly 56 percent of the total possible vote.

If you factor in a realistic, but still huge turnout below 100 percent, you're already talking about perhaps as much as 70 percent of the votes that will be cast is already in.

The campaigns have been pushing to get as many to the polls early as possible. Tomorrow, the ground game enters the homestretch and they'll be fighting over the remaining 30 percent or so of us.

Democrats have turned out 44 percent of that early vote to 37 percent for Republicans. That gives them a nearly 40-thousand vote edge going into election day.

With most polls showing a persistent single digit lead for the president in Nevada that's a significant firewall for the Democrats, one that might give them hope that there might be coattails just long enough to carry Shelly Berkley past Dean Heller in the Senate race.

Of course, the independent vote large enough to be key.

The totals reflect registration. Big numbers for Democrats in Clark County, considerable edge for Republicans in the rurals and, of course, that again brings us to Washoe County, the swing county in this swing state.

Nearly 54 percent of the vote here is already in and it's been almost evenly divided between the parties, Republicans edging out Democrats by about 600.

One way to look at all of this is with the rurals only making up a portion of the Democratic lead in Clark County, Romney needs a significant win here, a lion's share of the Independents, picking off some disaffected Democrats to win the state.

Exit polling and then later the actual count in Washoe County will be closely watched not just here, but elsewhere.

Again, this is the key to Nevada and Nevada, is a key battle ground state.

The respected political numbers person at the New York Times, Nate Silver, lists Nevada as the 3rd most likely state to deliver the electoral votes that determine the outcome, behind Ohio and Virginia.

That's why we've gotten all this attention.