LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democrats have widened their lead in the voter registration game in Nevada, one of a handful of swing states and a frequent stop for both presidential candidates and their surrogates.
Democratic registrations more than doubled Republican registrations in September, according to numbers released this week by Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller. Democrats signed on 30,377 active voters, while Republicans registered 14,532.
Nevada's six electoral votes are a hot prize for President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who visit or send a representative almost daily.
Obama arrived Sunday for three days of rehearsal for Wednesday's debate with Romney in Denver. He also gave a speech Sunday at a Las Vegas high school and invited superstar Mexican rock band Maná, a nod to the area's powerful Hispanic vote. Romney's wife Ann spoke in Reno on Thursday and in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson on Monday. Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio is in Henderson on Tuesday, and first lady Michelle Obama is coming to Reno Wednesday.
Democrats have the upper hand on total registration. Of Nevada's 1,187,238 active registered voters, 41.6 percent, or 493,606, are Democrats. Republicans account for 422,045 active registered voters, or 35.6 percent, and non-partisans account for 202,181 voters, or 17 percent.
The state doesn't reliably vote Democrat or Republican, but it has sided with the winner in every election since 1980.
At the close of voter registration in 2008, when Nevada picked President Barack Obama, active registration numbers looked similar to today's: Slightly fewer — 40.9 percent — were Democrat. Republicans accounted for 35.7 percent, virtually the same proportion as today, while a smaller portion — 15 percent — registered as nonpartisan.
Get-out-the-vote efforts were in full swing in September, with about 623,000 eligible Nevadans still unregistered. The office of Miller — Nevada's top elections official — has been pushing the state's new online voter registration option through radio and TV, including a commercial featuring Las Vegas burlesque dancer and reality TV star Holly Madison.
Time is short for both parties to rally their voter base. Online and mail-in voter registration is open through Saturday, while Oct. 16 is the deadline to register to vote in person at a county clerk or registrar's office.