Nevada Built a Powerful Democratic Machine. Will It Work in a Pandemic?

The New York Times   ·   Link to Article

As soon as someone comes to the door, before exchanging any greetings, Elsa Gutierrez hands over a disposable mask. After stepping back a few feet, only then does she ask how the person is planning to vote, and start in on the pitch for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has the backing of her union.

In response, she hears stories from people who have lost their jobs, fear getting sick and are frustrated that schools have yet to reopen, though casinos have.

This is what it looks like to hunt for votes in a pandemic.


After more than 90 percent of members of the Culinary Union, which represents tens of thousands of workers in Las Vegas and Reno, were unemployed in late March, union officials offered assistance with paying utility bills and handed out bags of meat, beans, fruit and vegetables.

Widely considered the state’s most powerful political force, the Culinary Union has built up a remarkably effective turnout operation during elections, helping to get its members to the voting booth for the Democratic candidates it endorses. 


Ms. Gutierrez implored him to reconsider. “Think about all the people who can be in more pain, all the people in your family who could be hurt, if you don’t vote and he wins again,” she said.

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