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Early voting in Ohio and Nevada indicates good news for Hillary Clinton

Las Vegas early voting
Lines for early voting in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

There’s good news for Hillary Clinton in early voting totals from two swing states today: Turnout in Nevada and in two big Ohio counties is bouncing back to 2012 levels.

These early voting totals are important for two reasons. Early voting in Nevada means Clinton’s team will have an advantage that could help them hold the state. And in Ohio, turnout catching up to 2012 levels suggests that Clinton’s bad week isn’t stopping Democrats from showing up to vote for her.

And early voting tends to be a good indicator of voter enthusiasm on Election Day — another good sign for Clinton.

Nevada: Democrats are going to have a big advantage on Election Day

Most of Nevada’s votes are cast before Election Day, and the state reports ballots returned by party. That makes it easier than it is in other places to tell who’s winning. After a big day for Democrats on Wednesday, they’re up by about 55,000 returned ballots in Clark County, home to Las Vegas — meaning Democrats have now matched their performance in early voting in 2012, Jon Ralston reports.

Turnout in Clark County is down 5 percentage points from 2012. But Clinton will go into election night with a double-digit lead over Trump. If the Democrats perform well in the home stretch, Ralston says, their “firewall” could get to the same levels as 2012, when Barack Obama won Nevada by more than 6 points.

Ohio: Big, Democratic-leaning counties are finally catching up on early voting — but the news is more mixed

Early voting got off to a slow start in Ohio, and early results looked bad for Clinton — areas that voted Republican in 2012 were requesting far more ballots, while the populous Democratic areas that helped Obama carry the state in 2012 were requesting fewer.

But now those areas are catching up. Early voting in Cuyahoga County (home to Cleveland) and Franklin (home to Columbus) is getting closer to 2012 levels, although it’s still lagging behind, particularly in Cuyahoga:

This might not be all good news for Clinton. The Columbus Dispatch reports the overall Cuyahoga numbers conceal that Republicans are doing better in the county than in 2012 — their early ballot totals are up, while Democrats’ have fallen. Still, early voting is what helped carry Ohio for Obama in 2012, so any indication that Democratic-leaning counties are voting the same way they did then is at least slightly reassuring to Clinton’s team.