Early voting numbers from this blue state suggest it could flip red: Report

Early in-person voting is wrapping up today in Nevada with almost 470,000 votes tallied as of Thursday, and trends so far suggest that enthusiasm is lagging among Democratic voters in the Silver State.

The Nevada Senate race, with Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and GOP challenger Adam Laxalt, is one of four toss-up races that will determine the balance of power in Congress.

The Democrats lead by 1% in early in-person voting so far, or just 5,200 ballots. This could spell trouble for Democrats, according to analysis from The Nevada Independent. 

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Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, left, and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, right, are running in a dead heat in Nevada.
(Associated Press)

On the flip side, Republican early-voter turnout in Nevada has also been low, sitting at levels far below those seen in the state’s last red-wave election in 2014, according to the Nevada Independent’s analysis.  

In 2018, when Democrats saw big gains in the midterm elections under former President Trump, Democrats in Nevada had a 3.4% edge over Republicans in early voting, or 14,500 votes.  

In Clark County, Nevada’s most Democrat-heavy county, lagging turnout among Democratic registered voters is also apparent. 

As of Thursday, just 25,000 Democratic voters had turned out so far, versus roughly 71,000 Democratic voters at this point in the 2018 midterms. These margins are crucial in a battleground state where Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden by just 34,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election.

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Early votes in Nevada accounted for 89% of the total vote count in the 2020 election.

Early votes in Nevada accounted for 89% of the total vote count in the 2020 election.
(Morry Gash)

Overall, registered Democrats have a slight edge in the Silver State, with roughly 52,000 more registered voters than registered Republicans, though due to Nevada’s automatic voter-registration process, which does not register voters to an affiliated party by default, the numbers may be skewed.

While final race calls will come down to voting on Election Day, Nevada has tended to vote early in the past, with over half of the total vote coming from either absentee ballots or in-person early voting since 2014.

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Laxalt currently leads incumbent Cortez Masto by 1.9 percentage points in the race for Senate, according to a RealClearPolitics average.

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