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Bernie Sanders Win in Nevada Caucus Marks Crucial Step, But Raises New Complaints

Sophia Day and Madeleine Chinery report on how a relatively smooth caucusing process compared to Iowa’s and a wide victory in the most diverse state so far in the Democratic Party’s nominating contest gave clearer indications of the race ahead. However, the apparent third place finisher Pete Buttigieg is complaining.

Throughout Nevada and at UNR, on caucus day Feb. 22, as well as during early voting, Latinos and young residents gave Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders a decisive edge. As of Sunday afternoon counting, he had 17 delegates, with only former Vice President Joe Biden also getting delegates so far in the Silver State with seven. In terms of popular vote percentage, Sanders had about 47% to Biden’s distant 20%. The next contest will be a primary in South Carolina on Feb. 29, before Super Tuesday, with lots of delegates at stake on March 3.

Last Chance to Vote for Nevadans

Many voters decided to attend the caucuses Saturday because they said they were unable to participate in the early four-day voting process the week before. This was the case for both Carissa Bradley and Al Greb, two voters on a sunny day on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

“So I was actually out of town last weekend so I couldn’t really vote and I thought caucusing would be a really interesting way to see all the different opinions that are happening around this election,” said Bradley.

“I didn’t early vote, I forgot to, so this is my last chance,” said Greb.

While waiting in line, voters and precinct captains shared their opinions and tried to persuade others to vote for their preferred candidate. Other supporters brought food and memorabilia to hand out to those waiting in line.

A Pete Buttigieg supporter handed out bread and buttons to voters. Inside, voters said that due to early voting, the caucusing was less crowded, but the former South Bend Indiana Mayor is now complaining of this two-part process.

A Complaint from the Buttigieg Camp

This being the 2020 nominating process, which has already been marred by confusion over Iowa’s first to go caucus, Nevada’s own process was not without controversy.

According to media reports, Michael Gaffney, the Buttigieg campaign’s national ballot access and delegates director, wrote a letter to the Nevada Democratic Party asking that it release early vote tallies and in-person totals for each precinct separately.

During the early voting, voters secretly chose their order of preference for candidates. During the group caucusing, voters physically gathered into preference groups, and needed at least 15 percent of the room to proceed to the next round. These were added to the already existing early votes.

There was a limit of 15 minutes between each round for voters to decide their vote. Voting took place until each room had a winner.

The Buttigieg campaign apparently believes there might have been mistakes in terms of integrating the early voting with the actual caucus choices. The former mayor has been credited with about 14 percent but no delegates so far, sapping the momentum he had with his delegate win in Iowa and his second place in New Hampshire, and giving clear frontrunner status to Senator Sanders, who now leads in delegates, and looks to be a favorite in important upcoming states such as California and Texas.



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