Nevada, Day 1: Reflections from a Common Purpose Volunteer

Five of us are on the sunny flight to Nevada, seated together in a clump toward the back.  We chat amiably on our quest for the rental car and arrive quickly at our Las Vegas hotel, a huge place designed to get you gambling, loud and smoky – but we are undeterred.  Over a buffet lunch, we meet Nevada state leader Maria Abando and another team member who arrived yesterday. 

It takes us awhile to get organized, but finally we are on our way to the East Las Vegas office of the Nevada Democrats, where things spring into action.  Office head Christena left behind three children in California to help Democrat Jacky Rosen win this Senate seat. She has paid staff of a dozen young organizers, half from Nevada and the rest from around the country. They have very few volunteers, and they are thrilled to see us.

We are here to support early voting, which begins in three days. Our walk lists are of Democratic registered voters – more than 5,500 voters were newly registered in this district since last March. Christena trains us to help people document a plan to vote: pick a day, a mode of transportation, and identify where they will be coming from on their way to vote. Christena tells us that the Senate race in Nevada will be largely decided by the Latinx voters of this area in the first weekend of early voting. If we can get the vote out for Democrats, we can win the state.

We head out at 5:00pm into the neighborhoods of east Las Vegas. The light is already changing, but kids are outside and doors are open. The smell of dinner cooking greets me at several homes. My blocks are on a busy street, mostly fourplex apartments. Many are not yet home from work, but at some half dozen doors I am welcomed and together we make a voting plan.  Twice I am warmly invited inside – something that has never happened in Seattle after knocking on thousands of doors. 

Dark falls very quickly, just after 6:00pm, and suddenly it is time to end our work for the day. A lovely dinner at a local Mexican restaurant with the team ends our first day together. We head back to the hotel tired and looking forward to tomorrow.

Written by Shelly Crocker

Christena CoutsoubosComment