With the Nevada Presidential caucuses looming, the two major candidates for the Democratic nomination are struggling to contact potential voters thanks to voter lists that are out of date and insufficient due to the deep impact of the foreclosure crisis in the state.
According to a report from Reuters, the campaigns of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, are out in full force in Nevada as the results of the state’s caucus take on added importance after Clinton narrowly took Iowa, but lost decisively to Sanders in New Hampshire.
But both campaigns are having trouble locating potential voters because of the number of Nevada homes that have traded hands multiple times in the wake of the financial crisis.
Nevada, which is more than a quarter Latino, was one of the states worst affected by the 2008 financial meltdown, with hundreds of thousands of families unable to pay their mortgages and forced to move in a crisis that by some estimates hit minorities twice as hard as whites.
With the foreclosed homes often switching hands multiple times – from homeowner to bank to investor and back to another homeowner in just a few years – keeping up with voters who at some point lived in those homes is difficult.
"This ongoing (foreclosure) crisis makes reaching potential voters more difficult," Sanders' campaign said in a statement emailed to Reuters. The Clinton campaign said the voter lists supplied by the Democratic Party needed "significantly" more work to update, forcing them to spend valuable canvassing time building up their own private data.
According to the Reuters report, approximately 200,000 of the 1 million registered voters in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, have been tagged as “inactive,” which means that their mail has been returned to the country elections office because it was undeliverable.
And those types of stats are making it much more difficult for Clinton and Sanders’ campaigns to find voters.
Again from Reuters:
Clinton staffers first arrived in Nevada last April, campaign officials said, targeting the state early because it has the third nominating contest in the presidential race for the Democrats.
But because so much of the file was out of date, the Clinton campaign had to work harder just to find voters and make sure their information was correct. Door knocking, for example, was often much more time consuming: People listed at certain addresses might have moved, requiring volunteers to engage with new residents from scratch and, perhaps, find out where the previous occupants had gone.