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The primary election early voting blog

A couple walks past a voting sign during primary election day at Sahara West Library on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Welcome to the early voting blog, which will be updated every day throughout the two weeks (5/26 to 6/8).

Bookmark this SOS page for Week 1 and this one for Week 2  for full results from around Nevada as early voting progresses.

FINAL FINAL

The SOS added some rural numbers today, so here are the final numbers. They didn't change much, but added about 2,000 to the total.

One thing I noticed in my pre-election number crunching is that Clark County is down across the board as a percentage of turnout:

The Clark total is at 64 percent of statewide, which is 5 percentage points lower than the South's actual percentage of the vote. As a share of D total, it's at 72 percent (actual is 76 percent) and as share of R vote, it's at 55 percent (actual is 60 percent). Washoe is about at its percentage in all of those categories, but the rurals are up 4 or so points in every category.

Not sure it will make a difference, but if that holds for Election Day (my guess is Clark gains but we will see), it could have an impact. And does it show the rurals are energized for this election and that could help the GOP (rural Republicans were up 5 percent while Clark's were down that amount) in the general? As I have warned, don't extrapolate, but that's a trend to keep in mind.

Election Day turnout has been about 8 percent the last three cycles, so if that holds, 115,000 or so will turn out Tuesday. That would be about 40 percent of the entire turnout, as it has been the last three cycles.

That means probably about 80,000 in Clark. And if Democrats are slightly above that 8 percent because of the governor's race, look for about 50,000 to turn out Tuesday statewide and more than 35,000 in Clark. That is, unless we are looking for an anomalous year we haven't seen since 2010, when Election Day turnout was 15 percent. Are people THAT excited about the governor's race?

Numbers to keep in mind when those first early vote totals post early Tuesday evening (we hope).

DAY 14

As the great philosopher Boz Scaggs said: "Why pretend? This is the end."

Of early voting, that is.

Turnout took a huge jump in Clark on the last day -- 15,500 voted -- and in Washoe -- almost 5,500. Even though there are 300,000 more registered voters in the state, those numbers are more than twice what the last day was four years ago. So both parties wanted a big showing on the last day.

Clark was 62,000 in 2014 and 115,000 this past fortnight. But new voters mean the percentage change is not so great -- 10 percent four years ago and 11.5 percent this cycle.

Final numbers, early voting and mail (a few small rurals are out from Friday):  178,200, or 12.4 percent. (It was 11 percent in 2014.) The second week was 50 percent higher than the first week.

Dems: 83,200, or 15 percent. You can see my prescience below, but if early/mail is 60 percent of the turnout, that mean overall Democratic turnout will be about 25 percent. That means about 140,000 voters. The math for the governor's race I outlined below still holds.

Watch when those first Clark numbers pop up Tuesday evening. They will tell us a lot. I expect the Democratic total will be 100,000 in Clark, 25,000 in Washoe and 15,000 in the rurals. Or thereabouts.

Rs: 72,800, or 14.8 percent. So not much difference between the parties, and I warn you (again) not to draw any conclusions. Democrats certainly can't claim the primary shows any amazing enthusiasm. It may well be there in November, but the primary is no harbinger. Nor is it apples to apples.

Some numbers to remember for Tuesday in those two congressional districts:

CD3 (GOP): 20,600 now, so max of 30,000 after Tuesday. So 15,000 to get half the vote and 10,000 to get a third.

CD4 (Dems, and I should have noted these numbers have been just the Clark part, which is almost all of it): Turnout is 20,300 right now. That means it will probably be 30,000 max after Tuesday. The Democratic nominee probably will not need more 10,000 votes in that crowded race.

A cautionary note: If Election Day turnout is an aberration this cycle -- many more or many less, or a much different composition -- it could turn everything upside down. (This is an explanation not an a priori excuse. Really!)

A more accurate statement about where we are was once made by a slightly more influential historical figure than Boz: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Don't forget to watch IndyTV on Election Night for all of the latest numbers, and I will call races, too.

DAY 13

On the penultimate day, turnout continued to increase in Clark (9,300) and Washoe (3,700). If history is a guide, there will be bigger numbers today, and I will have finals for you tomorrow.

Here's where we are:

Total statewide: 151,000, or 10.5 percent.  (Clark is 98,500, or 65 percent, so it keeps dropping slightly as overall share.)

Total Dems: 70,000, or 12.7 percent. So if there is a surge today, it will end at 15 percent, maybe a tick lower. That means overall statewide turnout, if history is a guide, will be 25 percent after Tuesday. Right now, Clark is 51,300 of the total, or 75 percent.

A little math game again: If Steve Sisolak has 55 percent of Clark, he has a 5,000-vote lead. So of the other 19,000 votes or so outside of the South, to be winning, Chris Giunchigliani would need to be winning 65-35. That's a daunting task.

More math: Say turnout gets to 140,000 voters on the Dems side. That's double what it is now and may be optimistic. That's 25 percent. If Clark is 70 percent of the total (this is conservative), that means Clark would be about 100,000 voters. If Sisolak gets 55 percent of that number, he has a 10,000-vote lead, and Giunchigliani would have to get just under two-thirds outside Clark to win.

So watch those first Clark numbers when they pop up on Election Night -- the absentee and early votes: If Sisolak has 55 percent or more, the race is almost surely over. If not, we may be in for a late night.

About a third of the Democratic turnout in Clark is new primary voters and females are outstripping males by double digits but not in landslide proportions. Everything I know about the internals of this turnout suggests Steve Sisolak should be happy, but I know better than to say this is definitive in a primary electorate.

And we will know soon enough.....

(The CD4 (12.5 Dem turnout) and CD3 (12. 5 percent GOP turnout) primaries are both holding at slightly above the overall turnout.)

DAY 12

Numbers still going up, biggest yet Wednesday in Clark (8,600) and Washoe (2,800).

Statewide totals (with mail):

D: 62,000, or 11 percent. Clark (46,000) is 74 percent of the total. (That's a tick under Clark's actual percentage of D voters in the state.)

R: 56,000, or 11.4 percent. Clark (33,000) is 59 percent of the total. (That's also just a notch below Clark's actual percentage of R voters in the state.)

All: 133,600, or 9 percent. Clark (89,000) is 67 percent of the total. (Clark has 69 percent of all active voters.)

So Clark County is just under its actual share of voters in the state, but not significantly. It's still where Wille Sutton would go if he wanted votes and not money. Well, actually, money, too!

Total early voting turnout is going to end up being close to 15 percent for Democrats by the end in two days. That means, unless Election Day is an anomaly, that overall D turnout will come close to 25 percent.

I also warn again against extrapolating to the general, but Democrats will want that Clark percentage to get as high as possible in November and Republicans will try to keep it as low as possible so the rurals mean more. It's called....math.

As for what this means for Tuesday, I still think the voter mix (older, white, not just base) generally favors Steve Sisolak, but Chris Giunchigliani, with a little help from her friends, has remained competitive on TV despite her big deficit. Both sides seem confident, but how else would they seem?

DAY 11

Turnout is still going up -- 7,500 in Clark and 2,600 in Washoe (3,800 after they counted all their pending mail ballots). So is female turnout (especially in Clark) and that of low-propensity voters. This is a base-plus primary, as I have been telling you.

Is Chris Giunchigliani creating new voters who are supporting her? Or is the more conventional views the right one -- the higher the turnout, the more older and less-frequent voters helps Steve Sisolak? I think the latter, but I have been surprised before. ("Titanic" and "Chariots of Fire" should not have won Best Picture!)

The latest:

Statewide: 118,500, or 8 percent. (It will get to 11 or 12 percent by the end of Friday, meaning overall turnout is not going to end up being as high as I once thought. I doubt it gets to 25 percent now.)

Statewide Dems: 55,000, or 10 percent. (Here the turnout will get to 13 or 14 percent in early/mail. So it could get close to 25 percent.) The Clark share has fallen just below three-quarters now. If you are hoping for a Giunchigliani upset, the smaller that number is, the better, if you also believe she will crush Sisolak outside of Clark.

Statewide GOP: 50,000, or 10.2 percent. Clark is under 60 percent of the total here. Douglas County is 5 percent of the total! Now that is...rich.

DAY 10

The numbers continue to pick up -- everything is relative -- as 8,500 turned out in the urban counties Monday. The other trends are the same, and even the mail ballots, according to those scouring the data, show a surfeit of low-propensity voters. This is not your usual base primary, folks.

The numbers (some rurals not in, as usual) are below. With 10 of 14 days in, I don't expect the trend to change much: Increased turnout (probably not hugely so) and more moderate voters are turning out as part of the mix.

Total turnout: 104,000, or 7.3 percent (It was 6.7 percent at this time in 2014.)

Dems: 48,500, or just under 9 percent (Clark is 37,000, or 76 percent of the total.)

GOP: 43,200, or just under 9 percent (Clark is 26,000, or 60 percent of the total. Want to know why the Republicans go on rural tours? The rurals are just under 10,000, or almost a quarter of the total.)

Turnout in those competitive congressional districts remains slightly higher: CD3 (GOP) is nearly 13,000, or 9 percent; and in CD4, it is 12,500, or also 9 percent.  It is only going to take 8,000 or 9,000 votes to win those races, probably only about 5,000 or 6,000 in CD4.

Democracy in action, folks.

DAY 9

The story on the Democratic side continues to be the large number of low-propensity primary voters turning out in the urban areas -- I'm told that nearly a third have not voted in the last three primaries and almost another quarter have only voted in one. About 80 percent of the urban turnout is 50 or older.   I cannot see how that can be good news for Chris Giunchigliani, even though female turnout is higher than male.

Why is this happening? Democratic enthusiasm? Anti-Trump fervor? Protest vote against my early vote admonitions?

Sunday's numbers:

Clark: 6,100, and total now 64,500, or 6.5 percent

Washoe: 1,100, and total now 14,500, or 5.7 percent

Rurals (most weekend data not in)

The Democratic totals are:

Clark: 33,500, or 8 percent

Washoe: 6,500, or 7.1 percent

Rurals: 3,550, or 8 percent, with weekend data pending (many are closed on weekends, though)

If you are interested, GOP turnout statewide is just under 8 percent while Democratic turnout is about the same. This means....nothing. Recall my warnings against extrapolations to the general and to remember what races are competitive this time and were not last time.

It is interesting, though, to see Clark turnout up significantly over both 2014 and 2016. (The early voting numbers in 2018 already have surpassed the total raw numbers for the two weeks of voting in 2014, albeit there are 200,000 more voters.)

DAY 8

(Note: I have decided to round off numbers because I think it makes it easier to read.)

Another relatively large turnout day Saturday in Clark (for a primary and for early voting, that is) with 6,800 voters turning out, the second-largest day so far (after the first Saturday).

Clark totals (with mail): 58,300, or just under 6 percent. (It was just under 5 percent at this time in 2014.)

So the increase remains about 1 percent above 2014 in the South, where it ended up at 16 percent. The statewide totals are now at just under 84,000, or a little under 6 percent.

Washoe's numbers continue to be steady, too, with 1,400 turning out Saturday. Total Washoe turnout with mail: 13,500, or 5.3 percent, still running slightly behind its urban partner 500 miles away.

The most important numbers this primary -- statewide Democratic turnout -- are:

Clark: 30,300, or 7.3 percent

Washoe: 5,900, or 6.6 percent

Rurals (some Saturday numbers missing): 3,550, or 8 percent

Totals: Just under 40,000, or 7.3 percent.

So Clark is three-quarters of the Dem turnout, Washoe is 15 percent and rurals are about 10 percent.

I'll show you what the latest math indicates, as Democratic power brokers who think Steve Sisolak is a much stronger general election candidate continue to bite their fingernails. (I happen to think Chris Giunchigliani would have a chance in this unusual year, although her path is tougher.)

It seems taken as an article of faith that Giunchigliani will do better outside of Clark. Let's say that right because of the stadium and other factors. So if it's a dead heat in Clark County, she will probably pull it off.

If Sisolak is at 55 percent right now in Clark, that means he would be ahead by roughly 2,000 votes. To make that up, she would have to win  roughly 60 percent outside of Clark County. Possible? Sure. But that's a 20-point win.

(I remind you that female turnout is very robust among Democrats, but so are low-propensity voters. Take those factors for what they are worth.)

Updates on the two congressional primaries:

CD3 GOP: 10,600, or 7.5 percent of the 142,500 voters.

CD4 Dem: 10,000, or 7.3 percent of the 137,500 voters.

Just consider how few voters are going to choose those nominees for a seat in Congress. Stunning and sad.

 

DAY 7

Halfway done.

Another 5,600 in Clark on Friday -- again, pretty consistent -- and the totals (early and mail) are now:

Clark: 50,371, or 5.1 percent (4.3 percent at this time in 2014)

Washoe: 12,088, or 4.7 percent (4.5 percent in '14)

Rurals: 11,454 ,or 6 percent

Total: 73,913, or 5.2 percent

So early turnout remains up over four years ago, when it ended up at 11 percent, and overall turnout was 19 percent. So I still think it's possible overall turnout gets to 25 percent this cycle, but not quite to the 30 percent level of 2010 when all those Republicans wanted Harry Reid's Senate seat.

Democrats, with that intense governor's primary, are at 34,851 statewide, or 6.3 percent. Of those, 26,371 are in Clark, which has three-quarters of the turnout. Washoe (5,271) has 15 percent and the rurals (3,209) have 10 percent.

So what does this all mean?

I'll say it again: If Steve Sisolak has a substantial lead in Clark, he cannot lose. If he does not, this will be a nail-biter.

Here's something to remember: Those tracking the data at a forensic level tell me not only is turnout up, but a disproportionate number of low-propensity voters are turning out. That is, this is not simply a base election for the Dems, as most primaries are. Also: It's mostly older and white, as most elections are, but women have about a double-digit lead over men.

The second week is usually bigger than the first. You know where to read to find out.

DAY 6

Just over 5,100 voters turned out in Clark County on Thursday, rounding out the week with consistency. As you can see from the SOS link above, the numbers have been about 5,000, give or take, every day so far. Totals: 35,337 early voters and 9,430 by mail for a combined 44,767.

That's 4.6 percent in the South. It was 3.6 percent in 2014. So it's still running above four years ago, but not keeping up with the 50 percent bump.

In Washoe, the total is now 9,709, or 3.8 percent.

I still think Clark overall turnout gets up above 20 percent (16 percent in 2014) and makes up close to 80 percent of the total. I talked to a Democratic operative Thursday who thinks in the year of women winning in Democratic primaries (in federal races), Chris Giunchigliani is going to win. But beyond an Emily's List poll we did not use because the group refused to show us the survey, all the other data I know of shows Steve Sisolak ahead.

But I remind you: The turnout is so relatively low that polling's utility is greatly diminished. All we really know is that the Democrats are turning out in higher proportional numbers than 2014 (overall turnout was 19 percent), which was perhaps inevitable.

Some numbers (with some rurals not all in yet):

Dems statewide: 5.5 percent

Rs statewide: 5.3 percent

CD4 Dems: 5.4 percent

CD3 GOP: 5.9 percent

I warn against extrapolating, and it's clear the June timing of a primary depresses turnout. Very small numbers of voters are going to decide some very important races. (And don't forget only Democrats will choose Clark County's next DA, something you can thank the Gang of 63 for doing. Good job, Legislature.)

DAY 5

Just under 6,000 voters turned out in Clark on Wednesday as the pace continues well above 2014, when overall turnout in the South was 16 percent. Total Clark turnout with mail is now at 38,689, or just under 4 percent. It was 3 percent at this time in 2014, so still 50 percent above four years ago.

Washoe (1,827) was almost identical to the day before. Very small relative numbers to Clark, so what happens here will mean everything....

Clark Dems: 20,383, or 3.7 percent.

Turnout is going to be up significantly from 2014, when Democrats had no one really running for governor (and "none of the above" won the primary).

The SOS has updated its page I linked above with most of the vote statewide.

A little math game: If Steve Sisolak is getting 55 percent of the vote right now in Clark, he would have a 2,000-vote lead. Only about 5,000 Democratic votes have been cast outside of Clark, so Chris Giunchigliani would need to be getting more than two-thirds of Democrats outside of the South.

If she is keeping it close in Clark, this will be close. If not, it's over.

DAY 4

More than a fourth of the data is in and here is what we have:

The SOS page above has been updated except for some rural numbers.

Turnout is still light but above 2014. The comparisons:

About 6,200 turned out in Clark County on Tuesday -- the number was just under 3,500 in 2014, albeit with 200,000 fewer registered voters. So not a huge proportional increase.

Total Clark turnout is now 32,088 (with new mail ballots counted). That's 3.3 percent. It was only 2.2 percent at this time in 2014, so it's 50 percent higher.

Democrats are at 16,924, or 3.1 percent. Republicans: 11,365, or 2.3 percent.

It's looking like trajectory for relatively high turnout by Democrats, driven by the governor's race, could push Clark well past the 16 percent turnout in 2014. Does that mean Steve Sisolak has an advantage because the more non-base voters that turn out, the more he is helped?

In Washoe, the biggest day yet, with a total of 1,826. Total is 5,891, or 2.3 percent.

Washoe Democrats are at 2,577, or 2.9 percent. Only about 1,000 Democrats have turned out in rural Nevada, or 2 percent.

You can see by the percentages and especially the raw numbers that even if -- if! -- Chris Giunchigliani crushes Steve Sisolak outside of Clark County, if he holds his own in the South with these much more robust numbers, he will win.

If.

DAY 3

UPDATED WITH LINK ABOVE, 4:30 PM:

Total early/mail turnout so far: 32,355, or 2.2 percent.

Dems: 16,086, or 2.9 percent.

GOP: 12,286, or 2.5 percent.

----

Just under 5,500 voted on Memorial Day in Clark County -- about 26,000 have now voted in the South, including mail ballots. That's 2.6 percent.

About 1,100 voted in Washoe. Total there is a little more than 4,000 voters, or 1.5 percent.

In 2014 after three days, total Clark turnout was 1.6 percent. So it's up a percent, for what it's worth (which may not be much).

The total Clark early/mail turnout in 2014 was just under 10 percent; in Washoe, it was 11 percent.

So if it went from 1.6 percent to 10 percent in 2014, might it go to significantly higher in 2018 by the end of the two weeks? Seems unlikely that it could get up to  20 percent turning out early. But if it does get to 15 percent, total turnout could be closer to 25 percent after June 12.

In Clark, Democrats (13,500 voters) are at 2.4 percent. In Washoe, 2 percent of Democrats have turned out. Let's see if those stay as "high" as they are now compared to 2014.

As for Republicans in Clark, who have a faux gubernatorial primary and a CD3 primary, they are at 1.8 percent.

It's amazing how few votes will be cast in those congressional primaries: So far, both the Republicans in CD3 (under 4,500 voters) and Democrats in CD4 (about the same) are not exactly, to use the usual cliche, flocking to the polls.

Again, I caution against conclusions, even though there is more data now and almost a fourth of the way through early voting. All I can conclude right now is that turnout could be much higher than in 2014, when it was 19 percent overall and only 16 percent in Clark. But it is still early.

Hard to get accurate poll numbers in that environment, but I still sense the governor's race has tightened since we showed a blowout. How much?

Did I mention how hard it is to poll when turnout is so low?

DAY 2

The usual Sunday dropoff in Clark to just under 5,000 voters (4,923) after 7,500 turned out Saturday. The governor's race seems to be driving it, too, as Democrats turned out in much greater numbers in Southern Nevada (2,751 to 1,634).

Total Clark turnout is now about 20,000 voters (including mail). That's about 2 percent.

Big drop in Washoe, too, from 1,696 to 1,011. So about 3,000 voters in Washoe so far, or 1 percent.

In the two contested congressional districts, here's the turnout so far:

CD3, GOP: 3,409 so far, or 2.4 percent. (By the way, despite the contested Republican primary, Democrats are turning out in greater numbers. Not necessarily indicative of anything, but worth keeping an eye on.)

CD4, Dem: 3,626, or 2.6 percent.

So both, unsurprisingly, are above the overall turnout.

One thing to note: The surge in absentees on the Democratic side that I told you about lately means a campaign or campaigns with money are funding that.  Draw your own conclusions.

Bottom line: So far, besides the uptick in absentees, nothing that unusual, albeit turnout is up from 2014.

----

I will be making comparisons to the last off-year – 2014. I warn you not to extrapolate too much or draw too many conclusions from these numbers.

Primary turnout is not necessarily a harbinger of general election turnout. And in 2014, the Democrats had very little to turn out for in June, and the Republicans really only had apparently competitive primary races for Congressional District 2 (kinda) and lieutenant governor (turned out to be a blowout).

This cycle, there are apparently competitive Democratic primaries for governor (remember “None of the Above” won in 2014!) and Congressional District Four and a Republican scrum in Congressional District 3. This does not include primaries down-ballot for legislative seats, which may drive higher turnout inside those districts.

This blog is designed to show you the numbers, not necessarily be predictive (I can do a lot more of that with general election numbers.) But if you believe higher turnout benefits Steve Sisolak in the governor’s race because he is more moderate, watch those numbers.

If past is prologue, more than half of the vote will come in the next fortnight. (Total turnout in 2014 was 19 percent – 222,240 voters, and nearly 60 percent came in before Election Day. It also started over a holiday weekend. )

One thing to remember as you see the raw numbers: There are about 300,000 more registered voters in the state than in 2014.

As usual, I will focus on the urban counties in this analysis, but the secretary of state should have full numbers tallied every day and as those come in, I will add them.

To the numbers:

Turnout on the first day is way up over 2014. Four years ago, 7,105 voters turned out or had voted by mail in Clark County after the first day. On Saturday, that number was more than double: 15,282. Most of the boost was a surge in mail ballots returned -- 7,696 vs. 2,976.

The Clark partisan numbers were also up: Democrats increased by two and a half times (7,927) and the Republicans (5,321) went up by a little more than one and a half times.

Again, one day does not a trend make, and don’t conclude this is a measure of extra enthusiasm just yet. But those are large increases.

In Washoe, which did not have immediate mail tracking in 2014, the early vote number was 1,560 four years ago. It’s about the same this cycle – 1,696 (1,963 with mail this year).

So early/mail turnout in the urban counties is 1.4 percent of total voters; it was just under 1 percent in 2014.

Watch for the usual Sunday drop-off.

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