CARSON CITY — The Republicans cut 6,000 voters off their registration gap with Democrats in November, but it wasn’t due to any surge in registrations, the secretary of state’s office announced Tuesday.
Far more Republicans than Democrats were purged from the active voter rolls for not voting in two consecutive federal elections or for moving away without leaving a forwarding address, said Scott Gilles, the deputy secretary of state for elections.
As the result, Democrats now hold a 90,669 registration lead over Republicans (518,346 Democrats versus 427,677 Republicans). During November, county voting registrars removed 12,314 Democrats and 6,045 Republican from the active voter registration file.
While everyone speaks of purging voters, Gilles said what they did was the maintenance of their voter registration files. Typically, post-paid cards are sent to voters who are asked to update their residence. Often the cards are returned because the voters no longer live at the addresses where they registered. These people then can be removed for the active rolls.
By taking these steps, registrars save money because they no longer have send sample ballots to people with incorrect addresses. Nevada is one of seven states that participate in a program to determine if voters still are living at the address where they registered.
There has been speculation that Republicans could pick up votes in Nevada because of the drop in popularity of President Barack Obama over the Affordable Care Act, but it’s too early to determine if that will have an effect.
Gilles does not expect voter registration drives will be launched until closer to the 2014 elections. The primary is June 10 and the general election Nov. 4.
Clark County has 394,590 Democrats and 264,748 Republicans. Of the 17 counties in Nevada, only Clark and Mineral counties (Hawthorne) have more Democrats than Republicans. Mineral County has only 200 more Democrats than Republicans.
Several rural counties have more than 2-to-1 Republican registration advantages, but their populations are scant compared to Clark, which has more than 70 percent of the state’s population.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at email@example.com or 775-687-3901. Follow him on Twitter at @edison vogel.