An Unusual Day at the Caucus

Moni Fox, a GIS analysis for Washoe County, had a more than unusual day on February 20, 2016.

Fox had arrived at the Democratic Caucus location when a “kid” asked her whom she was voting for. When she replied Bernie Sanders he quickly told that there was no precinct captain for Sanders, and that she needed to fill the position.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” she answered while trying to explain what it was like being thrown into this situation.

A lot of the buzz about the Nevada Caucuses revolved around the immense amount of chaos, disorganization, and violations in caucus rules.

Fox had participated in many other caucuses. She attended the 2008 presidential caucus and described it as being completely different. The 2008 caucus took place in the gym of the middle school, dividing people by who they supported, not precinct.

Fox described this It was much larger, and was organized in a way that forced all precincts to cram into classrooms.

“We had 44 people in our precinct and we were all in one classroom, so it was a little tight and confined.”

She said that when she arrived she was briefly told her responsibilities which included a “bag of shwag,” and to set up a room for her precinct, but lacked detail. She was given a list of phone numbers for the Democratic precincts, but was missing the list of numbers of voters for her precinct. Fox was unable to call her precinct and inform them of the caucus.

“I had responsibilities but the person who decided to be the chair person wasn’t allowing the captains to voice their concerns.”

So along with Fox being thrown into and unfamiliar situation without any background, the person in charge refused to answer her questions and concerns.

Fox said that she typically ends up working the elections. Washoe County encourages their employees to get involved with the presidential elections.

Fox also noticed a difference in the participants at the caucus. She noticed a huge jump in the amount of youth showing up.

“It did bring out some first time voters.” She agreed that the rise in young participants is associated with the Bernie Sanders campaign.

The Nevada Caucuses were a close race. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton split the state almost down the middle. Clinton and Sanders represent very similar values and many people had a very difficult time choosing one or the other.

Before the position of precinct captain was thrust upon Fox, she had planned on caucusing for Sanders. When asked why Fox was a Sanders supported she replied,

“I think my thought just align with what he aligns with. To me (Hillary Clinton) still represents big government, and (Bernie Sanders) doesn’t. Like at the bottom of his thing it was like ‘funded not by the billionaires.’”

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