Sanders, Clinton await Nevada vote

Democratic preseidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (Getty)
Democratic preseidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (Getty)

Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are flooding Nevada with volunteers ahead of this week's key nominating contest but they face a problem -- the personal data they need to reach many voters is out of date.

Nevada, which is more than a quarter Latino, was one of the states worst affected by the 2008 financial meltdown, with hundreds of thousands of families unable to pay their mortgages and forced to move in a crisis that by some estimates hit minorities twice as hard as whites.

With the foreclosed homes often switching hands multiple times -- from homeowner to bank to investor and back to another homeowner in just a few years -- keeping up with voters who at some point lived in those homes is difficult.

The Nevada Democratic caucus on February 20 has emerged as an unusually important test of Sanders' and Clinton's political strength.

Clinton is under pressure to keep her wide lead among Latinos, while Sanders must erode it to show he has a path to the nomination that does not rely mainly on the young white voters who make up the core of his support base.

"This ongoing [foreclosure] crisis makes reaching potential voters more difficult," Sanders' campaign said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

The Clinton campaign said the voter lists supplied by the Democratic Party needed "significantly" more work to update, forcing them to spend valuable canvassing time building up their own private data.

Las Vegas, Nevada's biggest city, has seen some of the country's highest foreclosure rates since 2008, topping more than 200 US metro areas from 2009 to 2011, according to RealtyTrac, a provider of real estate data and analytics.

Data that might have been corrected in the 2012 general election has, in many cases, already fallen out of date again because the Nevada housing market has continued to see wave after wave of foreclosures, the campaigns said.