What you need to know about the Nevada Democratic caucuses
WASHINGTON – With New Hampshire and Iowa behind the candidates, the 2020 Democratic contenders are now focusing on the next state: Nevada.
The caucuses will be held Feb. 22, though early voting in the state has already turned out thousands of voters. In an effort to increase accessibility to the process, for the first time ever, Democrats in the state have been able to participate through early voting.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s election:
First, the candidates will debate
The City of Las Vegas will host a primary debate on Wednesday, which will be the final match-up before the caucuses.
The candidates expected to take part are former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Voters will fill out a form, called a presidential preference card, that lists the top candidates you support.
But that’s just the first ballot, or “alignment,” in caucus-speak. The real fun starts with the second alignment when supporters of less-popular candidates are encouraged to join up with groups of caucusgoers who backed a better-liked contender.
Viability, the percentage of supporters a candidate claims at a voting location, can vary widely, but will typically require the support of at least 15 percent of caucusgoers per precinct.
Precinct check-ins start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 57 voting locations scattered throughout Washoe County. Actual caucusing begins at noon. Precinct locations can be found at caucus.nvdems.com or by contacting the party at 702-737-8683.
Nevada looks to do things differently following Iowa debacle
The Silver State’s third-in-the-nation nominating contest was, like Iowa’s, planned as an app-based process. Nevada Democrats have since dropped plans to use the Shadow app on Caucus Day. Iowa saw major problems with a mobile app.
The Nevada State Democratic Party plans to use a “caucus calculator”.
Party officials on Thursday sent a memo to campaigns explaining the calculator will be downloaded to party-purchased iPads and only available for use by precinct chairs charged with completing sometimes complicated caucus math. It will also help caucus organizers incorporate early vote totals into the results tallied on Caucus Day.
Nevada has also committed to retaining a number of other long-planned caucus updates, such as the addition of new workplace caucus sites on the Las Vegas Strip, a metropolitan hub.
Who won the first two states?
The Associated Press still has not called a winner in Iowa. However, Buttigieg and Sanders ended the day in a near tie in state delegates in the first-in-the-nation election, according to the Iowa Democratic Party.
In New Hampshire, Sanders edged Buttigieg in a closer-than-expected finish. Klobuchar came in a surprising third, a finish that built on her well-received debate performance the week prior.