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First weekend of early voting can't come fast enough in Nevada

October 21, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • Aida Castillo places a sticker on her blouse indicating that she had voted in Las Vegas during the early voting period.
Aida Castillo places a sticker on her blouse indicating that she had voted… (Julie Jacobson / Associated…)

LAS VEGAS -- The first weekend of early voting is unfolding Nevada-style, with vans busing Strip workers to a polling site in the shadow of towering casinos and both parties pushing out the vote in this crucial swing state.

Voting day apparently could not come fast enough for some residents in a state saturated by relentless political attack ads. Many say they have simply hit the off button and stopped listening to the TV ads or answering phones.

But the campaigns are far from finished: Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan are scheduled to arrive here Tuesday, with President Obama swooping in Wednesday to the state he won in 2008.

Republicans and Democrats pushed early voting as part of a grueling battle to ensure partisans cast ballots while candidates continue their pursuit of the still-undecided voters.

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Both parties courted Latino voters at back-to-back events Saturday in Las Vegas, while volunteers and candidates knocked on doors up and down the state to nudge residents to the polls.

As he revved Republican volunteers and voters at a stop Saturday in Las Vegas, comedian Paul Rodriguez joked that voters still sought the hope and change President Obama had promised.

"Not pocket change, we're talking about real change," he said.

Democrats held events Saturday and Sunday with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights icon. Democrats have a sizable voter registration advantage in Nevada, and the state's powerful labor unions rallied voters to the polls. A shopping mall in suburban Henderson had the most voters, according to county election officials.

"Nosotros Decidimos" --"we decide" -- read the T-Shirts worn by Obama volunteers, in a chant echoed by many Democrats and their candidates up and down the ticket.

In a state that appears ready to decide after this long campaign season, the shirts also listed the early voting dates -- through Nov. 2.

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