As early voting for the midterms is in full-force, voting records have been broken across the state of Nevada.
As of Tuesday, Oct. 23, Washoe County has reached an all-time high of registered voters with 269,018 people registered according to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters.
The all-time high of registered voters has the ability to be attributed to the 18-29-year-old age group seeing a 5.18 increase in new voter registration, according to TargetSmart. This more than 5 percent jump is compared to the 2.32 percent change in voter turnout from the 2014 primaries.
Aside from the record number of registered voters, Washoe County also experienced high voter turnout for the first weekend of early voting and absentee ballots with a combined 14,666 total votes, according to the WCRV. For comparison, the first weekend of the 2016 General Election had a combined early voting turnout and absentee ballot vote of 15,010 voters.
“We are very pleased with the record-breaking registration and voter turnout,” says Deanna Spikula, Registrar of Voters told MyNews 4. “Our numbers of registered voters and early voting turnout is looking more like a presidential election than a midterm election.”
According to Las Vegas Now, voting was not just high in Washoe County, however. Clark County received over 30,000 votes on Saturday, Oct. 20, the first day of early voting. This count came in more than 10,000 votes higher than previous midterms.
NextGen America Organizer Sarah Bass says the reason for such high voter turnout was the 2016 election. Bass describes NextGen America as “a progressive organization that is dedicated to getting out the youth vote”.
“I think 2016 really turned a lot of people into activists,” Bass said. “A lot of young people grew up with Obama as their president and everything was fine. I think 2016 was a wake up call for young people across this country, that politicians affect issues impacting us right now and for generations to come.”
Bass, a criminal justice and political science major at the University of Nevada, Reno, first felt the need to take action during the first year of Trump’s presidency.
“I was applying to college for psychology before the election,” Bass said. “Seeing Trump’s rhetoric disgusted me and triggered me as a sexual assault survivor. It forced me into action. It was not a time to be frustrated or defeated and now we’re seeing the anger around Trump being elected turning into young people becoming active on their campuses and in their communities.”
Reasons for voting vary, but some feel it is the only way to be involved in the political process.
“You can’t sit back and say oh this should’ve been done and that should’ve been done, and you didn’t vote for it. Come on, we’re Americans,” said Las Vegas resident John Gery.
Key states — or “purple states” that don’t have one main political party — have been closely watched during the midterms. These states include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.
According to a report from NBC News, early voting in these key states is usually overtaken by Republicans. However, Nevada is the only state of these seven states to have more Democratic party affiliation in early voting, with 45 percent Democrat affiliation, 38 percent Republican and 18 percent other.
Early voting ends on Friday, Nov. 2. University students can vote on the second floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union, or polling places can be found at https://www.headcount.org/find-your-polling-place.
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @OliviaNAli.