INVESTING IN NEVADA NOW IS CRITICAL TO VICTORY IN 2018 AND 2020.
Every election cycle, both parties fight hard for Nevada’s six electoral votes. In the last hundred years, Nevada has voted for the national winner in every presidential election except two (more than any other state). While President Obama carried the state by a
comfortable 12-point margin in 2008, that margin was cut in half in 2012. In 2016, Secretary Clinton took Nevada by a margin of only 27,000 votes or 2.4%. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto, the deciding vote to block ACA repeal, won by only 26,000
votes. With the loss of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania for the first time in six elections, what’s clear is that Nevada is now a must-win state for any Democratic nominee hoping to win 270 electoral votes.
Nevada’s changing demographics, including a growing Latino population, have strengthened the Democratic base. But winning elections requires that the voting population be reflective of the population overall. Former Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller made significant strides toward making voting easier. However, assaults on voting rights, like photo ID laws and arbitrary purges threaten those gains, attacks supported by Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.
GAME CHANGING OPPORTUNITY IN 2018
In order to keep Nevada in the win column, we need to continue expanding our electorate with new voters. There are 770,000 Nevada citizens who are eligible to vote but are not registered. They are disproportionately young, minority and poor.
For example, 58.2% of 18-24 year old citizens were eligible but not registered to vote in 2016. Hillary Clinton won this age range by an advantage of 29 points (59%-30%). In 2016, 46% of Hispanics (18% of the electorate), 34.8% of blacks (9% of the electorate), and 62% of Asians (6% of the electorate) were citizens eligible to vote but not registered. Clinton won these groups with 60%, 81%, and 62% of the vote respectively.
Registering these voters would help secure Democratic victories in Nevada for years to come.
Campaigns spend tens of millions of dollars annually and a significant percentage of time registering voters and talking to them about the process of registration. Voter registration programs have been expensive and inefficient. Enter automatic voter registration (AVR). Currently, eligible citizens have the choice to register to vote when they get their driver’s license through motor-voter provisions. This ‘opt-in’ process leaves room for many eligible voters to remain unregistered despite this opportunity. Automatic voter registration changes the process from an opt-in to an opt-out system. With automatic voter registration, every eligible voter will be automatically registered when they get a driver’s license or state ID, unless they optout.
In 2016, iVote made a critical investment in gathering more than double the required signatures to put automatic voter registration on the 2018 ballot. If iVote’s AVR ballot initiative passes, we could automatically register each of the nearly 800,000 currently eligible but unregistered Nevada citizens as they receive or renew a driver’s license. Not only will every currently eligible voter be registered to vote, but every future Silver State voter—every 18-year-old, every new citizen, every college student moving to the state—will automatically be registered forever. That’s a game changer.