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Nevada Built a Powerful Democratic Machine. Will It Work in a Pandemic?

  • September 15, 2020

The poll showed that the overwhelming majority of voters have not changed their minds since 2016 — 90 percent of voters who chose Mr. Trump in 2016 said they would do so again, while 90 percent of Clinton backers planned to vote for Mr. Biden.

Part of the challenge for Democrats is new voter registration, which has been essential for victory in the last decade, particularly as more Latinos become eligible to vote.

At the start of the year, Mi Familia Vota, a national Latino voting group, estimated it would register 21,000 new voters in Nevada by Labor Day. But the organization stopped doing in-person outreach six months ago. Now, the number stands at around 6,000.

On a blazing hot Saturday, hours before Mr. Trump landed in the state, dozens of volunteers and staff members with the group lined up on a soccer field in the east part of the city, their faces covered by double-layered masks. Before they could go out to register new voters, they had their temperatures checked and picked up bags with bleach wipes, gloves and dozens of pens.

About a third of the group was dispatched to grocery stores and strip malls in the area to register as many people as they could find. But the rest set out to do what they have done more of in the last month, canvassing not to sign up voters but to help find the tens of thousands of public-school children who have not shown up for virtual learning. After four weeks, the number has dropped to about 25,000, from 75,000 when school first began.

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