Union effort in Nevada going strong

The union effort to turn out voters appeared to be going strong in Nevada as the Nov. 6 election neared.

At the Local 226 of the Culinary Workers Union, most of the 200 people working the election were in the field Monday, knocking on doors, talking to voters and leaving behind door hangers with specifics about where to vote. The CWU, with 55,000 members —  housekeepers, porters, bartenders, food service workers, cocktail waitresses  — was the first major national union to publicly endorse President Obama in the 2008 election.

Monday marked one of the last laps in a three-month push. Workers have knocked on 150,000 doors, organizers said.

Still, they were not letting up in spite of polls that had Obama ahead in Nevada and early voting figures that showed Democrats with a strong lead in sheer numbers who participated. (Results are not available until after the polls close Tuesday.)

Yvanna Cancela, political director of the culinary union, noted that Republican voters have tended to wait until Election Day to vote, so the early voting advantage was viewed as a promising sign but not nearly decisive.

More than 700,000 Nevadans have cast votes, and an additional 300,000 are expected to do so Tuesday.

"We know from being on the ground that it's going to be close," Cancela said, "and it's going to be determined by turnout."

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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