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Nevada's Demographic Shifts Could Shape Election Outcomes

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Friday, September 18, 2020   

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Mobilizing young voters is a challenge even without a pandemic, but a Nevada grassroots group is taking advantage of changing technology to reach them - especially Latinos voting for the first time.

Bob Fulkerson, development director with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said since the PLAN group launched in 1994, Nevada's demographics have changed dramatically.

In those 26 years, the percentage of Nevadans of color has grown from 21% to 52%, and many will be voting for the first time. He said PLAN is reaching out using new technologies -- and hearing a lot of frustration that people hope to resolve at the ballot box.

"What we're hearing is people are frustrated, people are anxious, people are hurt and people are resolute," said Fulkerson, "to do something about the chaos that they find our country and our communities in."

Nearly 20% of eligible voters in Nevada are Latino, which is the sixth-largest Hispanic eligible voter share nationally, according the Pew Research Center. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that one Latino in the U.S. turns 18 every 30 seconds and becomes eligible to vote.

Fulkerson said the pandemic has forced PLAN to get creative with reaching voters. Instead of going door-to-door, smart phones and video-conferencing are being used.

And while the contact isn't as personal, he said hundreds and even thousands of people can be reached - and most want to talk about issues important to them.

"The voters that have turned out in the last election are saying, 'Of course I'm going to be there.'" said Fulkerson. "The people for whom this is the first time need some nudging -- they need some conversation."

Nevada has voted Democratic in presidential elections since 2008, but polls show the race between Democratic candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump tightening in the past few weeks.

Disclosure: Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Environment, Human Rights/Racial Justice, Immigrant Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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