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MEMO: Democrats’ Success in Nevada the Result of Strategic Organizing


To: Interested Parties

From: Alana Mounce, NV Dems Executive Director

Date: November 18, 2020

Subject: Democrats’ Success in Nevada the Result of Strategic Organizing 

Despite the challenges of a worldwide pandemic, the Nevada State Democratic Party did the work, virtual and in-person, to elect Democrats and secure the presidency for Joe Biden. Nevada is a battleground state critical to winning the White House and because of the dedication and strategic work of the state party to win up and down the Silver State, Democrats defeated an incumbent president–something that has only ever happened a handful of times–and elected the first woman and person of color to the office of Vice President. 

Through robust voter education, a dogged field program, an expansive voter protection team, and a historic ballot cure program, NV Dems held majorities in both legislative houses, three of four congressional seats, and carried Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to victory. 

NV Dems Wrote the Playbook for Organizing During a Pandemic

In early March, NV Dems quickly adapted to the circumstances of a global health crisis and transitioned to a virtual organizing program through calls, text messages, social media outreach, virtual town halls, literature drops and relational organizing. After in-person work began in the late fall, organizers and volunteers safely hit the doors to close out the cycle with crucial face-to-face conversations.

Across the final four months, NV Dems: 

  • Recruited nearly 10,000 volunteers 
  • Knocked more than 600,000 doors
  • Lit dropped nearly 50,000 doors 
  • Made more than 7.1 million calls 
  • Sent more than 4 million text messages

A Months-Long Voter Education Program Encouraged Turnout in a Unique Election 

Following the passage of Assembly Bill 4 and drastically changing the way Nevadans vote, NV Dems launched a robust voter education program to ensure every eligible Nevadan knew how to make their voice heard at the ballot box. The Nevada Victory team kicked off the program with bilingual public service announcements from elected officials and community leaders to encourage participation by mail and in person. NV Dems created a bilingual website as a resource for voters with key dates, answers to frequently asked questions, and information about each voting option. 

Nevada Democrats also offered a 24/7 multilingual voter protection hotline to answer voters’ questions in English, Spanish, and Tagalog, and act as a resource for reporting and resolving any voting issues in real time. Across the final few months, the voter protection team responded to more than 4,000 calls. 

Constituency Outreach Efforts Were Critical to Our Path to Victory 

Nevada is a majority-minority state and no campaign can be successful without meaningful, strategic outreach targeted at each unique constituency group. Our campaign thrived with carefully cultivated, cross-departmental outreach programs for Latino, African American, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Native American voters. Rather than siloing outreach work to a political or coalitions program, each department of the campaign worked to contribute to reaching these voters, from organizing to operations.

We went everywhere to talk to Latino voters, drawing community members to voting locations through horse parades, Zumba events, banda concerts, and Dia de los Muertos celebrations; spending hundreds of hours at Cardenas and Broadacres sharing voting information; and traversing Las Vegas with multiple Latino car caravans. The strength and reach of our African American engagement could be felt both virtually and in-person. In addition to hosting dozens of events, our virtual events collectively garnered tens of thousands of views. 

These virtual events included Sister to Sister conversations between Black women about their concerns and hopes for the country and weekly Shop Talk Series beginning in September which focused on candid conversations about the struggles facing Black men. 

We broke new ground in reaching AAPI voters. For the first time in Nevada, we instituted specialized field outreach efforts including weekly FilAm phonebanks led by community leaders and hosted dozens of virtual AAPI events featuring speakers such as Nevada’s First Lady Kathy Sisolak, Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, and Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen.

We built our Native American organizing program on a strong foundation laid by the NV Dems Native American Caucus. We focused on lifting up Native American voices to shine a light on the unique issues facing Nevada’s tribal communities and the need for a leader in the White House dedicated to addressing these issues.

We also included tribal voices in non-native-specific events such as the Build Back Better Rural Roadshow with Chairman Amber Torres as a panelist along with Patricia Ackerman and Kimi Cole, our Rural Chat and Chew organizing meetings, and a press conference pushing back on the Trump administration’s harmful policies. 

During the early voting period, we embarked on visibility campaigns at both the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Reno-Sparks Indian Colony early vote sites to drive turnout to those locations. Efforts included volunteer presence, hiring Native vendors, and partnering with local high school students as well as elected officials and tribal chairs such as Chairman Arlan Melendez and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Councilwoman Janet Davis to serve as local validators.

The Soul of the Nation bus visited Walker River Paiute, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Pyramid Lake Paiute across three days to help us reach more voters, hand out shirts, signs and other campaign gear that provided supporters the visibility to encourage friends and supporters to turn out and vote for the Biden/Harris ticket. During the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony visit, Chair Arlan Melendez publicly endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket, validating the campaign to tribal members. 

In a Majority-Mail Election with a Close Margin, NV Dems Executed a Statewide Ballot Cure Program 

Protecting every vote meant ensuring every eligible vote counted. As soon as mail voting began, NV Dems called, texted and knocked on the doors of Nevadans whose ballot had been rejected to help facilitate the cure process. 

Beginning in October and until the ballot cure deadline, NV Dems:

  • Recruited more than 1,300 ballot cure volunteers 
  • Made nearly 50,000 calls to Nevadans with rejected ballots
  • Knocked more than 12,000 doors
  • Sent 9,000 ballot cure texts   
  • Cured more than 5,500 ballots

Together, NV Dems, our labor partners, community organizers and issue advocacy groups knocked on more than 1.2 million doors up and down the state in the final stretch, overcoming the circumstances of a global pandemic and Republicans’ months-long advantage of in-person organizing. And through constituency-specific outreach tailored to our diverse state, Democrats were able to turnout enough voters in Nevada to make the difference. 

With majorities in both legislative houses and new leadership in the White House, Democrats are ready to put in the work on behalf of Nevada families in 2021. Together we will help our state and country recover and build back better.