Nevada, known as the “Battle Born State,” has been ferociously under siege in past elections as Republicans and Democratic presidential candidates vied for the state’s six electoral votes.
One of 11 swing states, Nevada may seem less significant than the country’s notorious bellwether, Ohio, or Florida, which has nearly three times the number of electoral votes (29) to cast toward a certain candidate. Yet, Nevada’s history makes it just as interesting, unpredictable, and important as the others.
Here’s a look at what Nevada’s make up and voter demographic looks like today, and how this information can tell us more about why Nevada is still so important for the 2016 US presidential election.
First, some critical information for Nevada voters:
Early voting runs from Oct. 22 to Nov. 4. Any voter registered in Nevada is eligible to vote early Go here to find out where early voting polling stations are located in Nevada.
For Electon Day voting, polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re in line at your polling location by 7 p.m., you’re allowed to vote. Find your polling station here.
If you’re a first-time voter, registered by mail or online, didn’t include a copy of ID when you registered, and didn’t provide a valid driver’s license number or social security number on your application, be sure to bring one of the following: A current photo ID that shows your address; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address (however, a voter registration ID is not accepted)
Nevada’s Role in US Election History
In the past five US presidential elections, 33 states have voted for the same party each time, according to POLITICO. Nevada isn’t one of them.
Nevada which had a strong GOP voting record during the 1970s and 1980s, shifted Democratic in 1992 and 1998, before swinging back to the GOP in 2000 and back again to Democrats during the 2008 and 2012 elections.
Most interesting about Nevada, perhaps, is that in 31 out of 38 presidential elections, the Silver State picked the winning candidate. Nevada has correctly picked the winner each time since 1912, except for once in 1976, when 50.2% of the state’s electoral votes went to GOP party nominee Gerald R. Ford over winning candidate Jimmy Carter. But, that was back in the day. Since then, Nevada’s demographics have changed to include more Hispanic voters and grown more urban.
What’s Nevada’s Demographic Makeup?
Geographically, Nevada is one of the driest states in the country, it’s a desert. The kitschy yet cosmopolitan oasis of Vegas might make make you forget that Nevada is seriously battling the effects of climate change.
The state's cities also hold more voting power than you might think.
How Many People Turn Out to Vote in Nevada?
Considering 85% of Nevada’s land is owned by the federal government you would think more people would make voting in the general election a priority. But not quite all Nevadans vote.
In 2012, 80.77% of those eligible to vote in the state either charged to the voting booth or lackadaisically mailed in their ballots.
So far this year, 1.3 million people in Nevada are registered to vote. For this year’s primaries 75,000 people came to #showupvote for the next GOP presidential nominee, and 80,000 did the same to elect a Democratic party leader. That’s less than in 2012, but Nevadans still have until October 18 to register to vote.
Why Is Nevada Important for the 2016 Election?
With Nevada’s past history as an oracle for eyeing the predicted presidential winner, it remains a prominent swing state for this year’s election. It has shifted its allegiance from red to blue and back again, and that along with its rising urban and Latino populations will make Nevada an interesting state to watch out for during the election.
This year, Global Citizen will be hosting events in three swing states, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida to get Global Citizens ready to elect the 45th President of the United States.
Stay tuned for more information and check out our #ShowupVote hub for more voting action.
Voting is a basic democratic right, and it’s important to make sure you’re ready to go to the polls when voting opens in your state. If you’re not registered, you can register here. And if you have friends who aren’t, share the word with them. Learn your state’s laws and get registered — every vote counts.