- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Campaigns hoping to leave nothing to chance in battleground Nevada are urging their supporters to get out and cast their ballots during a two-week early voting period that starts Saturday.

With 61 percent of Nevada ballots cast in the 2012 presidential election coming from in-person early voting, groups are bringing plenty of star power to the state this weekend as they try to lock in votes during the crucial timeframe.

Singer Katy Perry will visit UNLV’s campus Saturday to rally votes for Hillary Clinton, while President Barack Obama drops by a North Las Vegas high school Sunday to drum up excitement for Democrats up and down the ticket.

Democrats tend to do better than Republicans in early voting, which allows voters to choose from a wide variety of polling places at malls and community centers rather than confining them to the single neighborhood site they must use Nov. 8.

Republicans usually take an initial lead with mail-in ballots before Democrats surpass them when in-person early voting begins.

Nevada is considered one of the few toss-up states in the presidential race, and is home to several tight congressional races. Experts say the outcome in Nevada’s close U.S. Senate contest between Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto will come down to turnout.

Democrats hold a 6 percentage-point voter registration advantage in Nevada but haven’t always capitalized on it. They lost all major statewide offices and their majorities in the state Legislature when they failed to turn out en masse in the 2014 midterm election.

Construction union members are doing their part to help reverse those Democratic losses, with plans to go door-to-door in Henderson on Saturday and then cast their own ballots afterward. The heavily immigrant Culinary Union will bring its get-out-the-vote campaign to casinos, directing workers to an early vote site near the Las Vegas Strip.

They’ll also participate in an “Early Vote Fiesta” in the largely Hispanic East Las Vegas neighborhood. That event will feature a taco truck and activities for children within walking distance of an early voting site.

Republicans are kicking off early voting with special guest Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s holding rallies at Reno and Elko schools along with Heck.

Early voting runs through Nov. 4.




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