Tight fight for early votes

Asian-Americans voting early in Las Vegas (apichronicle.com)

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – In what has become her nightly routine, Christie Anacta checked her Facebook page before retiring for the night.

On this Sunday evening, she found the usual messages from friends and relatives, and a few picture postings that she found quite interesting.

But what caught her eye immediately was a message with some fancy graphics, which said: “Early voting will be critical for winning this election—make an impact by sharing voting info with friends who may be able to vote right now.”

It urged her to vote early, and subtlety for President Obama, whose campaign logo came with the message.

“Unbelievable. They must really need my vote,” Anacta said

Voting has begun in Las Vegas, where Anacta resides, and both the Obama and Mitt Romney camps have urged voters to vote early, using all means, including the Internet, to get their message across.

A registered Democrat, Anacta has not voted yet, but is leaning towards Obama, which is quite typical among Filipino-Americans, the largest Asian group in Nevada.

Early voting began Oct. 20 and will end on Nov. 2 in Nevada, a key swing state, and the results, so far is going the president’s way, although it is tight.

According to the secretary of state’s office, Democrats have accounted for 45.4 percent, while Republicans have accounted for 37.2 percent and independent voters for 17.4 percent.

Bloomberg Business Week reported that heavily Democratic Clark County, Nevada’s most populous and where Las Vegas is located, has seen people registered with the president’s party cast 121,298 early and absentee ballots, compared to 81,512 for Republicans, through Oct. 27.

According to USA Today, Democrats have a 90,000 edge over Republicans among Nevada’s active registered voters and are ahead in early voting.

The president’s party held a nearly 39,000-vote advantage, as of Saturday, over Republicans among those casting their ballots at early voting sites. Heavily Democratic Clark County, where the majority of the state’s residents live, has seen the biggest turnout.

“None of these metrics look good for the Romney campaign,” said David Damore, a political scientist at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The United States Election Project at George Mason University in Virginia said more than 12.3 million ballots have been cast throughout the country.

There has been an increase in key battleground states, such as Florida, Iowa and North Carolina, areas where both campaigns have used their formidable ground operations to encourage supporters to not wait until Election Day to vote.

“We’re seeing such high volumes already,” said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor and early voting expert. “It tells you just how critical the early vote is in general. If you neglect that early vote, you’re neglecting a large segment of the population.”

In Nevada, Democrats are not neglecting that early vote, and in fact, are aggressively going after it.

Last Saturday, a bevy of politicians and celebrities from California was on hand for a rally at Chinatown to urge voters to vote early.

Representatives Mike Honda and Judy Chu and celebrities Magic Johnson and Kimora Lee Simmons exhorted hundreds of supporters to help re-elect President Obama.

On Sunday, another pair of celebrities, actors Jon Hamm and Bryan Greenberg, flew into town to help in the get-out-the-vote campaign.

All this is not lost on Anacta, who said she is impressed by the Obama ground game and would likely vote herself before the end of early voting on Nov. 2.

“I have to make my vote count,” she said. “It can make a difference.”

Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter @vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at facebook.com/BertEljera.

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