Las Vegas, NV - The line was long and steady for most of the first morning of early voting at the Albertson's polling site in suburban Las Vegas. Voters have been saturated for weeks with ads, mail, and phone calls for the U.S. Senate race between Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle. The race, still in a dead heat, is the most consequential Senate race in the country. The Silver State has 1.1 million registered voters, and half of all votes cast in Nevada for this midterm election will be done through early voting.
In Nevada, all early voting is done through the use of touch-screen voting booths with instructions in English and Spanish. The majority of the Nevada electorate is located in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. Polling places are set up throughout the county and early voting runs for two full weeks, ending the Friday before election day.
Election officials say early voting has many benefits, including more accurate ballot counts and the reduced administrative costs. Fox News caught up with several voters outside one polling location in Clark County, all of whom agreed that early voting has its perks. Here's how they put it:
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting, including Oregon and Washington which conduct all elections via early mail-in voting.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) the following states open their polling places days or weeks early:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In addition, the NCSL says the states below also offer some form of absentee balloting without any excuse for not being able to vote in person:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Fifty-five thousand new voters registered during and since Nevada's primary earlier this year, a number that suggests people are motivated. Many were Tea Party types, boding well for Angle. Overall, though, Nevada's total number of registered voters has actually shrunk since 2008, as people have moved away from the state's worst-in-the-nation unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure rates. People here are ticked off at government, not welcome news for Reid.
But one thing is clear: day one of early voting is a hit in Sin City.
Carl Cameron contributed to this blog.