By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – After attending to relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail – and not surprisingly, he’s in Nevada.
With the wind behind his back – literally – Obama resumes campaigning after earning high marks for his handling of the national disaster brought about by Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the East Coast.
Obama also comes to Las Vegas with just a day left in the early voting period. The 10-day schedule ends Friday, with the president enjoying a clear edge, 44 percent to 38 percent over Romney among early voters.
A record 576,520 people in Nevada had cast votes early or by absentee ballot as of 11 a.m. Thursday. That’s 46 percent of the state’s 1.257 million active voters.
In the non-presidential election in 2010, 433,000 residents voted early or by absentee ballots. In the president election in 2008 the early vote-absentee ballot total was 561,000.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said voters in his county have not yet passed their early voting totals of 2008, although he expects that occur Friday.
In the 2008 election, 394,000 people in Clark County voted early and 210,000 cast ballots on Election Day. As of Thursday morning, about 362,000 people in Clark County had voted early. Another 45,000 had cast absentee ballots.
According to the Review-Journal, Lomax predicted an 80 percent total turnout by the end of Election Day in Clark County. That is similar to past presidential election turnouts. Secretary of State Ross Miller anticipates a 75 percent to 80 percent statewide turnout.
“What has been different this time is we haven’t had as big of turnout for early voting the second week, compared with the first,” Lomax said.
The voting figures from the secretary of state also show that Republicans cast absentee ballots more than Democrats, while Democrats are more likely to show up at early voting places than Republicans.
However, Democrats hold a 90,000 advantage in voter registration going into the start of early voting on October 20. An aggressive “ground game,” has also been launched, although Republicans have steadily caught in the past few days.
The fight for Nevada’s six electoral votes is expected to go down the wire, although Obama, who beat John McCain in 2008 by more than 120,000 votes is presently holding the edge.
With nine percent of the population, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are expected to provide a key block, according to California Democrat Mike Honda, who has rallied the AAPI community to vote early.
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